Gas Line Explosion Ignites Cedar Rapids Home

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By Katie Stinson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids firefighters battled a house fire that started with a gas explosion late Thursday morning. A contractor was disconnecting a gas line to relocate it when the line suddenly blew up.

The house is located at 3600 Skylark Lane SE, Cedar Rapids. Homeowner Dawn Stephens, called 911 when she saw a fire ball near the back of the house. Firefighters say Stephens and her three dogs escaped safely. Though the contract worker, 41-year-old Howard Russell, did suffer some burns on his hands. He was treated at Mercy Medical Center.

Firefighters still aren't exactly sure what happened.

"At this point we have an investigator that is going to come to the scene and determine exactly what happened. We are working with the contracting company and MidAmerican Energy to find out what went wrong," Cedar Rapids Fire Department Public Information Officer, Greg Buelow said.

The flames were pretty confined, burning the siding on the back side of Stephens' home near the gas line.

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