FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. -- One person was killed and at least three others were injured in a Friday morning house explosion in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle, Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said.
Jackson said a natural gas leak was reported just before the house blew up in the Hooverson Heights neighborhood just outside Follansbee. A neighbor made the report, Jackson said, but the blast came so soon after the call that the gas company hadn't even been alerted yet.
The sheriff's department issued a news release saying the house was owned by George and Tracy Mozingo. The department did not identify who was hurt.
Jackson said he would withhold the name of the person killed until an autopsy confirms the identity. However, close family friend Chris Grishkevich told WTOV-TV that the victim was the couple's daughter, 13-year-old Hannah Mozingo.
Grishkevich said he and George Mozingo have been friends since high school, and that Grishkevich is coordinating donations for the family.
"It's something you see on a movie," he said. "It's just crazy how gas can build up and . . . just destroy a house. Destroy a family."
Kathy Kidder, superintendent of Brooke County schools, said a counseling team was on hand Friday for students and staff.
At about 6:30 a.m. there was a 911 call from a neighbor of the Mozingos, reporting a possible gas leak, according to Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
Messina said the Hooverson Heights Volunteer Fire Department responded, but did not find anything out of the ordinary. The explosion occurred about 30 minutes later, just after 7 a.m., while firefighters were still in the area.
The windows were blown out at the fire department, about 150 yards from the explosion.
Six nearby homes were severely damaged, and some are now uninhabitable.