by David Mitchell and Will C. Holden
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A natural gas leak caused an explosion that obliterated a house in Castle Rock Friday morning.
One neighbor thought it was a plane crash. Another said it felt like an earthquake.
The blast was so intense in the Sapphire Pointe neighborhood , it damaged three neighboring houses.
Anthony Riley was parked in the cul de sac at 7:15 a.m. and saw it all happen. “The roof went up about 40 feet and you could see it all mangled together from the impact and then all of a sudden it just sucked it back in and collapsed.”
What’s even more amazing is the woman and her four adopted children were all inside the house when it blew up. They all got out with a few cuts and bruises.
Castle Rock’s fire chief calls it Divine providence that everyone survived, and that no one received any serious injuries.
Brothers Ryan and Kyle ran to help the family. “They were kind of calm, they weren’t really saying much. The girls, they were like crying and just mainly really shocked.”
Castle Rock Fire confirmed that a house at 6942 Sulfur Lane had been completely leveled.
According to the Denver Police Department, the home belonged to Lt. Jimmy Martinez. He’s accustomed to responding to these kinds of things and not letting them affect him.
It was totally different for Matinez on Friday. He believes it’ a miracle his family survived, and he’s thankful. The five individuals at the house at the time of the explosion were his wife Lisa, and the couple’s four adopted children, Chuna, 6, Elen, 4, Oz, 11, and Ahbie, 7.
All of the adopted children are natives of Ethiopia, with the girls having been in the U.S. for six months and the boys about a year and a half. The family has four other children who no longer live at home and another son, 16-year-old Ryan Martinez, who was spending the night at a friends house when the explosion occurred.
Witnesses told us the entire family at 6942 Sulfur Lane was able to escape before the house collapsed, with several of the children actually riding the rubble to safety from the second story down to the ground level.
All of Sulfur Lane — approximately 20 people, according to Castle Rock Fire — were evacuated.
Homeowners across the city reported feeling the shock waves from the blast, with one woman claiming her home shook despite being five miles away. Residents in Parker, which is approximately 16 miles away, reported being able to hear the explosion.
“I’m from southern California, and I really thought it was an earthquake,” said Wendy Emmel, who lives two streets away.
Neighbors like Emmel in the immediate area reported smelling natural gas before the explosion, with one of those neighbors calling 911. After the explosion, neighbors reported seeing insulation raining down throughout the Sapphire Pointe neighborhood as fire crews began to arrive.
Source: Fox 31 Denver