Ohio house explosion: What to do if there's a gas leak

Two children, two adults were killed by the blast and subsequent fire Monday night in Northfield Center Township, about 15 miles southeast of Cleveland, Ohio.

(Cliff Pinckard/The Plain Dealer via AP)
Authorities respond after a deadly house explosion Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Northfield Center Township in Summit County, Ohio.

A house explosion that shook a northeast Ohio neighborhood left two adults and two children dead, fire officials said.

The blast and subsequent fire happened Monday night in Northfield Center Township, near the village of Northfield in Summit County, about 15 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and saw flames shooting from the house.

Northfield Center Fire Chief Frank Risko said the bodies of a mother and her two daughters, ages 8 and 12, were found on the first floor near the front of the home. He said the father was found near the back of the house. Authorities did not immediately identify the victims.

Neighbors reported hearing the blast around 8:30 p.m.

Randy Nickschinski lives two doors away. He told Cleveland.com that he and his son, Nate, rushed to the house and kicked in the front door. The family's dog quickly escaped. Then he, his son and another neighbor went inside and yelled for the family, but no one answered.

"There was a lot of fire, a lot of debris," Nickschinski said. "We were yelling and nothing. We were just looking everywhere."

Nickschinski's daughter, Danielle, told the website that she had done babysitting for the family's two young girls.

"They were very outgoing and nice," she said. "They always wanted to play."

The cause of the explosion remained under investigation.

In November, a gas explosion in a home in Elizabeth, N.J. killed one person and injuring 15 people. As The Christian Science Monitor reported at the time, with more than 177 million Americans relying on natural gas in their homes, according to the American Gas Association, there are several things people can do when they suspect there may be a gas leak:

If you smell gas (such as a “rotten egg” smell) or hear the hiss of a possible leak, you should check to see if the burners on your stove are off, and then open the windows to ventilate the house.

If something is obviously wrong, like sparks or flames, you should evacuate the house immediately, warn others nearby and then call 911 from a safe location.

But if you’re inside, the burners are off and you still suspect a leak, don’t turn on the lights or use other electrical devices, cautions Captain James Altman of the Santa Monica Fire Department.

“That could lead to a spark, which causes an explosion," Mr. Altman told USA Today last year. "You want to make sure you have a flashlight handy."

If you notice the grass or bushes outside have suddenly turned brown or look more rusty, that could be a sign of gas pouring out of the pipes, you should call 911 immediately and then call the gas company.

Other signs of a leak include dirt and dust blowing from a hole in the ground or bubbling in wet or flooded areas.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Ohio house explosion: What to do if there's a gas leak
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today