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Explosions kill three and injure a dozen, destroy homes in three states over the weekend

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November 13, 2011

Three explosions demolished residential homes in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan this weekend, tragically killing three people and injuring twelve others.

Early Sunday morning, the blast from a gas explosion at a home on the southwest side of Chicago, IL rocked the neighborhood. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, neighbors heard the explosion and looked to see the home of Pedro Sepulveda and Ana Oyola leveled. Windy conditions minutes later whipped up a smoldering fire into a blaze. Neighboring houses suffered broken windows and fire damage. The husband and wife managed to escape but suffered second-degree burns. The cause of the incident is under investigation. Neighbors report that they smelled gas the evening before, but the utility Peoples Gas says it received no reports of gas leaks.

In Fairborn, OH on Saturday, a gas explosion at a residential duplex blew up killing one man and injured six others, including four children. Windows of nearby houses were shattered and debris blown a block away. Fire officials told the Associated Press that a gas line was struck while work was done on the duplex’s water lines.

On Saturday night in Benton Township, MI, two people died and four more injured when their home caught fire then exploded. Survivors say they awoke to smoke, found part of the home on fire and fled, at which time a blast occurred. People told ABC57 News that they heard it several miles away. Officials are investigating the cause, but say that one resident in the home used oxygen for a medical condition.

Americans commonly use smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detector use is on the rise. Many Americans may not know that natural gas detectors are also available. For safety, natural gas has an additive that gives it a distinctive rotten egg smell. However, a person may be sleeping or otherwise not smell the gas as it builds up until it is too late. In homes where heating, stove, water heater or other appliance utilizes natural gas, one of these devices could save lives in the event of a gas leak. Learn more about natural gas detectors from the National Institutes of Health.