O’FALLON, Mo. — Neighbors are still picking up the pieces after a shocking home explosion in an O’Fallon, Missouri neighborhood. At least five homes were destroyed and dozens of others were damaged. But the big questions neighbors have – Who is responsible, and who is footing the bill?
“My house structure felt that. The house next door felt that,” said victim Ken Stout.
Top story: Wainwright-Molina set record; Pujols pitches for first time in Cardinals rout
Stout lives next door to the exploded home. He said every room has damage and his foundation is cracking.
“My house now has foundation cracks that start everywhere,” Stout said.
The explosion happened after a sub-contractor for Gateway Fiber accidentally hit a natural gas line. Spire was called out to repair the line.
No one was hurt, but it leveled one home and severely damaged at least four surrounding homes. Stout said Gateway has said they will pay for repairs but is getting mixed messages.
“We’re still not there. In the meantime, all of us are having to go through our own private insurances and adjusters and trying to find a structural engineer to come out and assess all the properties. It’s been very difficult,” Stout said.
According to Gateway Fiber, Gateway hired a contracting company, Sellenriek Construction, and that company hired a sub-contractor, JDK Construction. Gateway confirmed JDK Construction was the crew that hit the gas line.
Gateway released the following statement:
At Gateway Fiber, nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of the communities we serve, our customers, and employees. As a local company committed to improving our neighborhoods, we share the concern over yesterday’s incident in O’Fallon, Missouri.
A preliminary assessment has found that while drilling for a new underground fiber line at a residential home, a subcontractor working on one of our job sites, inadvertently struck a natural gas line. The subcontractor immediately stopped their work and contacted Spire Energy which arrived quickly and evacuated the home.
During Spire’s attempt to repair the natural gas line, an explosion occurred which affected the entire home and at least one nearby structure. Thankfully, no one was injured. The subcontractor conducting this work has been terminated. We are actively cooperating with the local investigating authorities and focusing on how we can help the affected families and community. We look forward to the results of this investigation.
– Heath Sellenriek, President, Gateway Fiber
The Missouri public service commission also confirms staff is investigating the incident. Stout said he just wants his home back to the way it was and to be compensated. He says if that doesn’t happen, a lawsuit could be on the table.
“I want my property fixed and I want it back to the original condition that it was at 10:30 on Tuesday morning. I don’t think that I should have to fight for that because if it gets to a lawyer, it’s going to become a class-action suit. And it’s not going to be pretty,” said Stout.
Trending: Alderman raises noise concerns about Bellefontaine Neighbors church
Stout the neighborhood has had a big problem with people coming to the damaged area in the middle of the night and going through the debris. He’s asking those people to stop and have police stepping up patrols around here.
There is a Go Fund Me set up for the owners of the exploded home – and it is already up to more than twenty thousand dollars.
You can find that Go Fund Me here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/home-exploded-family-lost-everything-everything