A pre-dawn explosion and fire destroyed a Corpus Christi home Friday, injuring three people — two of them critically — and shattering windows on houses up to three blocks away, authorities said.
The blast occurred about 5:30 a.m. in a neighborhood on the south side of the coastal Texas city. Fire officials said most of the roof was gone and the home was ablaze when firefighters arrived. Brown said no one was missing.
"At this point we are very fortunate that the injuries are limited to three victims," Fire Chief Andy Cardiel said.
Cardiel said two of the victims were taken by ambulance to a Corpus Christi hospital, then transferred by helicopter to a burn unit in San Antonio, about 130 miles to the northwest. A third person was treated at the scene but declined additional assistance, he said.
Three adjacent homes had considerable damage. Officials subsequently cut off gas and electricity to the area.
"The gas department is checking their lines, their meters and their valves to see if they had any kind of release," Cardiel said. "It's going to be way too early to determine what a cause is at this point."
Firefighters doing inspections found broken windows or shifted doors three blocks away.
Mike Obenhaus was eating breakfast with a friend at a nearby restaurant and ran to help.
"The house had exploded, all the walls were down, the roof was already on the ground," he told the Corpus Christi Caller Times (http://bit.ly/14NCsjV ). "We saved a little boy, a little girl, a mom and dad. Then the adjacent house started catching fire.
"There was another guy, in the initial fire, laying in the middle of it. We pulled him out. He had cuts all over his body. ... It was a pretty bad sight."
Andy Heines, a spokesman for electric utility AEP Texas, said about 20 homes were without power as a safety precaution and could remain that way throughout the weekend as the investigation continues.
Information from: Corpus Christi Caller-Times, http://www.caller.com