Durham house explodes, one man burned

January 20, 2008 7:19:58 PM PST
A home explodes in Durham, the flames burn one man and neighboring houses.

The blast occurred on Ninth Street near downtown Sunday morning.

Eyewitness News has learned the home explosion was an attempted suicide.

Durham fire investigators say that the man living inside the home tried to blow himself up.

Officials say the victim involved in the fire, had burns to his face and hands.

The homeowner is in critical condition at UNC's Jaycee Burn Center.

"I heard this loud explosion I thought maybe it was a tree that fell on the house because of the sleet and the snow and next thing I know when I looked outside it was just burning. It exploded, the house actually exploded," neighbor James Amos said.

One home was completely destroyed. Fire fighters quickly responded to the scene, saving other houses from major damage.

"My mom said she heard this big explosion and they went and looked and the house was engulfed in flames already," Neighbor whose house was damaged by the blast, Tom Copley said. They're just right down the street. [The fire department] is only a couple hundred feet from the house. Them getting out here like that I'm sure helped save my parents house saved that house from burning down.

Officials say when they arrived at the scene, the whole house from one end to the other was on fire and two adjacent houses also had some fire damage.

"We got here quickly and were able to stop it from spreading to the other houses," Battalion Fire Chief Andy Sannipoli said. "We were lucky when we got here when we did; with the fire involvement in the house and the radiant heat it was giving off, it very easily could have let off the other two houses."

The pressure blew out windows on neighboring homes. Firefighters cut off the electricity to the damaged homes, leaving neighbors temporarily displaced.


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