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Home explodes near natural gas well

A homeowner says her home near a natural gas well exploded and she is questioning the cause of the fire.
QUITMAN, AR – A homeowner says her home near a natural gas well exploded and she is questioning the cause of the fire.

Homeowner Kimberly Glenn was in her kitchen with a friend and an infant Monday morning when her friend smelled smoke. Glenn says that her entire house was engulfed in flames within seconds afterward.

"[The smoke] was coming out of the light switch in the living room and [the friend] went over to open the front door and by that time the house was engulfed," says Glenn.

The Quitman Volunteer Fire Department responded, but was unable to save the house. Glenn, her friend, and the infant had to escape out of the back bedroom window. The firefighters said that the fire was caused by electrical problems and spread so quickly due to the wind. But there are other theories on how the fire spread so quickly.

Ron Hake used to live near the Glenn residence. One December, he noticed air coming up through one of the rear wells on his property. Hake called Southwestern Energy to test the water in the well, and found that natural gas was seeping into it.

"It’s very probable there's natural gas in a lot of these water wells," says Hake. He estimates the distance between his old house (the one which had been tested with natural gas in it) and the Glenn residence to be “less than a football field away.”

“All the gas . . . you never know. There could be a big pocket under our house. Or there was, we don't know. The gas company won't tell us anything," says Glenn. "I don't know what happened. We've never had any electrical problems in the house. It was just so fast. We went from house with everything to nothing."

All she remembers is hearing a few loud pops as she watched her home burn to the ground. "I got everybody out so that's all that matters."

The owner of the natural gas wells, Southwestern Energy, has yet to respond to Fox 16’s calls for comment on the incident.
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