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Rathdrum home explodes after gas leak, two people suffer minor burns

Two people along with an Avista representative were inside the house when it exploded.

RATHDRUM, Idaho — A house exploded in Rathdrum, Idaho, following a gas leak on Thursday afternoon.

Northern Lakes Fire Marshall Tyler Drechsel said a home in Rathdrum on Christine Street exploded following a gas leak at about 1 p.m. About an hour-and-a-half before the house exploded, a contractor working in the front yard of the home struck a gas line. Avista and the fire department were called to the scene.

Shortly after Avista stopped the gas leak, the home exploded, Dreschel said. The home owners, were inside along with an Avista representative when the house exploded, he said. 

The explosion knocked out windows and walls and a fire spread quickly through the home, Drechsel said. He said the gas leak was reportedly caused when a contractor putting in cable bored through a natural gas line in the front yard.

According to KREM 2 news partner Coeur d'Alene Press, the homeowner suffered burns to his arm, while the woman escaped from the second floor of the home by climbing down a ladder with the help of a neighbor. Both were checked out at Kootenai Health and later returned to the home. The Avista representative suffered first-degree burns to his neck. No other injuries were reported. 

KREM 2 viewer Ron Hudson took the video below, which shows the home engulfed in flames following the explosion.

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Jennifer Botha, a Rathdrum resident, told Coeur d'Alene Press staff she heard there was a natural gas leak in the Timber Landings subdivision when she decided to drive home to be sure things were okay.

“My house shook so hard it felt like somebody ran a car into my house,” she told the Coeur d'Alene Press..

According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, Botha ran outside and up the street to see fire and smoke coming from a neighbor’s house. Within 10 minutes, it was engulfed in flames.

“It was devastating to watch,” Botha said. “It was devastating.”

About 12 surrounding homes were evacuated and Avista is taking care of lodging for those families. One other home sustained minor heat damage, according to the Coeur d'Alene Press. 

The home was declared a complete loss, Drechsel said. People living in the area told KREM 2 the entire street was evacuated.

Those who would like to help the family impacted can donate to the Chris or Sara Lee Benefit Account at any STCU branch. Technique Gymnastics, located at 237 W. Hayden Ave. in Hayden, Idaho, is also collecting the following donations:

  • Dad: XL shirts, 34 waist x 32 length pants
  • Mom: XL shirts, L-XL pants
  • Son: Sizes 14-16
  • Daughter: Sizes 10-12

Technique Gymnastics is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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