GYPSUM, Colo. (CBS4) – Human remains were found at the site of a home explosion in Gypsum. The identity of those remains has not been released.
Investigators are set to comb through what’s left of a house in Gypsum that was torn apart by an explosion and fire on Thursday. The home exploded south of Gypsum High School after a gas leak and authorities evacuated the neighborhood.
“I was home when it happened. I was sitting upstairs when my house shook and I was like, ‘What in the world was that?’ and that’s when I went outside and saw the smoke,” said Lisa Harwood, a resident of Chatfield Corners neighborhood.
Chatfield was one of approximately 200 homeowners evacuated but was allowed back in Friday afternoon, with an escort, to grab essential items.
“I just left quickly, just grabbed one change of clothes for overnight,” she said.
By Friday afternoon, the gas line had been repaired and officials deemed it safe for many homeowners to return home, but possibly without power.
“We do want to let our residents know that phase one residents, and phase two residents both may not have power when they return and that phase one residents will not have gas. So, the thing I would communicate out to the public is that residents will see service technicians from the gas company out in the neighborhood through the evening and into tomorrow,” said Jeremy Rietmann, Gypsum Town Manager.
Reitmann said there were still 21 homes in the “phase one” area, the neighborhood where the explosion occurred, which were would remain under evacuation orders through the night.
Crews are only just starting work at the home because in the hours following the explosion gas levels from the leak were too high. Authorities also haven’t indicated if there was anyone in the home at the time of the explosion. So far there are no official reports of injuries.
A boring company searching for fiber optics is suspected of causing a gas main to rupture. The gas ended up pooling, which caused the explosion. The soil there was so saturated that authorities believe that the gas line was hit days before and went unreported.
Red Hill Elementary School and Gypsum Creek Elementary School were both evacuated on Thursday immediately after the explosion. They got a report of some gas line maintenance from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office that was being done at around noon. Then the explosion happened at 12:35 p.m. Some students were outside eating lunch at the time. Counselors are now helping those students who might be struggling with the traumatic event of witnessing the explosion.
Someone who was driving nearby captured video of the flames and heavy, black smoke that could be seen coming from the site and shared it with CBS4. Several other bystanders also witnessed the aftermath of the explosion before the area was cleared by authorities.