9 Injured After Reported Gas Explosion Blows Apart Denver Row Home

<p>(Courtesy Denver Fire Department)</p>
<p>The scene of a home explosion on Sante Fe Drive in Denver on Aug. 14, 2018.</p>
Photo: Sante Fe home explosion
The scene of a home explosion on Sante Fe Drive in Denver on Aug. 14, 2018.

Published 2:05 p.m. | Updated 5:13 p.m.

Nine people were injured, one critically, Tuesday afternoon when a natural gas explosion blew apart a row home south of downtown Denver.

Denver Fire Captain Greg Pixley said crews weren't sure if they've accounted for every individual. Injuries include burns and blunt trauma, Pixley said, and some of those hurt were being treated at Denver Health.

Photos and aerial footage show a badly damaged a single-level multi-family brick home off of Sante Fe Drive and 4th Avenue. The roof was blown off, and both internal and external walls were in pieces.

"Half of the house was in the middle of the street," said Jessica Lockfield, who lives in the neighborhood.

An Xcel Energy spokeswoman said company crews were on site and working with fire and police officials. Pixley said crews were being mindful of lingering gas and the potential for the building to collapse.

"Anytime we have an explosion like this, the dangers are significant," he said.

Denver police have closed Santa Fe from Ellsworth Avenue to 5th Avenue.

"Please avoid the area and find alternate routes," the department tweeted.

Pieces of wood were thrown like sticks, and bricks were spilled on the ground in front of the one-story building, which was being searched by a cadaver dog.

"Our goal is not to find a victim but to rule out that a victim is there," Pixley said.

Alexander Ponton, whose car was hit by the blast, said he and a few other people helped pull a couple from the debris.

"As I got in front of that building, it blew up right next to my car," he said. "Threw my car over a foot and a half to 2 feet. ... After it blew up, all you could smell was gas. That's all you could smell."

Alex McMahill, who was working at a nearby auto repair shop, said he heard the explosion and thought a vehicle had fallen from its lift.

"I just started running," said McMahill, who also helped pull people from the debris.

"I'm thankful for my friends, my family, and I hope that everybody could be safe because it's a crazy life," he said.