Gas district working with investigators but too early to say what caused Headland explosion

All left is rubble at home that exploded and burned in Headland. Photo from January 2, 2016
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Headland- The Southeast Alabama Gas District said Monday it is working with multiple agencies investigating an explosion and fire that destroyed a home and business in Headland last week.

The cause of the blast has not yet been determined though growing speculation is it was caused by a gas leak.

“While SEAGD provides natural gas service to several homes in that area, natural gas service at this address was discontinued by the customer a number of years ago. SEAGD does has an inactive service main to the home. This is an ongoing investigation, and at this time, the cause of the explosion is still not known,” said company spokesperson Shannon Jackson.

Headland Police Chief Mark Jones said Monday tests are being conducted by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Jones said he’s can’t rule out natural gas caused the explosion but he doesn’t want to speculate until those tests are completed.

Spencer Wells, who lived in the home, suffered burns over more than 60 percent of his body and is hospitalized in Atlanta. He was the only person injured.

If gas is the culprit, then the major question becomes how it could leak into a home that hadn’t used gas in about six years.

“In the days following the explosion, SEAGD continues to work with various agencies, including the state Fire Marshall’s office and the Public Service Commission, to determine the cause,” said Jackson in a written statement.

She continued, “SEAGD is also working to confirm the integrity of the natural gas system in the surrounding area following the incident, making sure SEAGD’s lines were not damaged following the explosion. As this is an ongoing investigation, it would not be appropriate to speculate as to the cause."

In addition to Wells’ home, a next door antique shop was also leveled and several surrounding businesses damaged.