Ballantyne residents meet with Charlotte Fire, Piedmont Natural Gas to talk about July explosion

Ballantyne residents meet with Charlotte Fire, Piedmont Natural Gas to talk about July explosion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Many people in the Ballantyne area still have concerns after a gas leak, and the explosion that followed, leveled a home on James Jack Lane in July, killing a woman and injuring her husband.

Investigators have said the couple was away on vacation, and that the explosion happened minutes after they returned home.

On Wednesday night, Charlotte Fire Department and Piedmont Natural Gas officials came to a Ballantyne Homeowners Association meeting to talk about that explosion, and try to calm residents’ concerns.

Officials say their investigation shows that while the couple was away, gas readings spiked from a 20 to readings that were in the 300s when they returned.

Something in the home then sparked that blast when the couple came in, but investigators haven’t determined what that was.

On Wednesday night, the gas company presented to the room, assuring them that this is a very rare situation.

“One thing that we did right out of the gate is extensively check the neighborhood, and the neighbors around the incident, because we wanted to make sure our system was safe, and it turned out that everything was working properly, the fire department later announced it was a leak from within the home," Piedmont Natural Gas spokesperson Tammie McGee said. "So our big message for folks is, learn what to do if you smell that natural gas smell that’s a little like rotten eggs.”

Officials say the thing to do, even if you think you might sense that smell of gas, is to get out of the building right away and call either the gas company or 911 for firefighters to come out and take a reading.

“We would respond to an address, we would investigate for the odor of natural gas, we would be able to take our four and five gas meters into the structure, and meter the atmosphere, find out is natural gas present and if it is, what’s our percentages,” Charlotte Fire Battalion Chief Matt Westover said.

Those Charlotte Fire Department investigators say they’ll turn this investigation over to insurance groups and engineers to try to figure out what exactly sparked the explosion.

Investigators say that could take a minimum of six months to two years, if they get that answer at all.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.