On October 21, a house exploded about three blocks or so to the east of where I live. I was coming into town from the west and saw black smoke rising above the town, originating from approximately the area of our house. I discovered later that it was a natural gas explosion. There was nothing left of the home, nothing. I believe a kitchen sink or some such item was found in the back yard, thrown from the force of the blast. The owners were working on replacing a furnace, and left to buy parts. Fortunately, no one was home when the event occurred. The fire department had to let the gas burn until Ameren arrived to shut down the gas lines. You don’t want to blow out the fire and have gas continue to stream out. In the mean time, the wind was blowing strongly to the north, sending flames and smoke into the direction of the house next door. The garage on the house next door completely burned and the home itself suffered severe smoke damage. Naturally, we all watched the local tv news that evening.

The owner of the house next door was interviewed. He eloquently and calmly stated how he was glad no one was hurt, that his neighbors should not feel bad about the damage to his home; after all that’s why they have insurance, and that they would all pull together and get through it. I thought his statements, off the cuff as they were, and obviously during a very stressful situation were exactly the right thing to say in exactly the right way. Since no one was hurt, we can think about how people handle themselves in a crisis and critique it. I only hope I have the composure and maturity to handle myslef as well as he did, should I ever need to. I learned something then, and hopefully won’t soon forget.

Gas explosion Oct21