UPDATED: Gas leak to blame for Beloit home explosion - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATED: Gas leak to blame for Beloit home explosion

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Investigators say a gas leak to blame for the explosion that hurt two people in Beloit.

According to officials, the home's tenants, Tara and Todd Purdy, were putting in a new gas stove that evening with the help of some family members.  Both the gas stove and an open-end connection were on the same line, so when gas was turned on for the stove, the uncapped gas line filled the basement with natural gas. An unknown source ignited the gas, causing the explosion that sent both tenants to local hospitals.

Todd and Tara reported hearing a noise, so Todd went to the basement to check it out. That's when the house collapsed on top of them.

Both victims are now at UW Hospital in Madison. Tara Purdy is in fair condition and suffering from cuts, bruises, and minor burns. Todd Purdy is in critical condition with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

Officials say there is no criminal activity associated with the incident. The investigation is now completed, and the home had been turned over to the insurance company. They will be in charge of razing the building.

Some neighboring homes, trees, and fences were also slightly damaged from debris from the explosion.

A man and woman are rescued after being trapped underneath rubble from a Beloit home explosion.

Residents say they felt the blast early Sunday evening the 2000 block of Meridith Drive inside their homes. As they rushed out to see what happened, they heard screams coming from the basement. That's when neighbors called 911.

Crews were able to put out a few small fires in order to get a 33-year-old woman out. She was brought to Mercy Hospital in Janesville. Officials say she suffered some burns. He was flown to Madison hospital.

Crews then had to work on stabilizing the home to prevent it from collapsing further and endangering the lives of rescue workers. Rescuers still needed to save a 37-year-old man trapped in the home. But Beloit Fire Chief Brad Liggett said that wasn't an easy task.

"There was a great deal of debris around him, " said Liggett. "He was actually in the basement when the explosion occurred. So we had to tunnel through the first and second flood that had collapsed over top of him."

It took crews a while to finally get to the victim in the basement because of the danger the house could further collapse. The man also suffered burns on his body and was taken to UW Hospital in Madison. Two family pets were also in the home, one survived. 

Nearby homes were evacuated and Alliant Energy was called in to assess whether any natural gas leaks were in the area. Power was shut off at the home.

It is unclear at this time what the cause of the explosion was. Chief Liggett said it could be natural gas, but the State Fire Marshals Office is investigating and will help determine for certain what happened.

Crews worked throughout the night to secure the scene and make sure the house wouldn't pose a threat to anyone in the neighborhood.

The home is a rental property owned by James and Beverly Long of Beloit. It is valued at $48,500 and was completely destroyed.

Beloit Fire, police, and members of the Wisconsin State Fire Marshal's Office will investigate the scene Monday morning. Investigators are not releasing the names of the victims until family is notified.

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