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Gas leak cause of home explosion



On Thursday, Victor and Alma Dominguez saw what was left of their home following Tuesday night’s explosion in South Hobbs.

“It was a sad thing to see,” Dominguez said. Hobbs Fire Marshal Shawn Williams was still conducting his investigation as HFD officials searched through the debris looking for a cause.

On Friday, the investigation concluded. Hobbs Fire Chief Manny Gomez said a gas leak developed in the front half of the house and reached the explosive limit range of 4 to 15 percent. He said the ignition is believed to be a spark from an electrical light fixture.

“What we believe happened was there was a mixture of gas that migrated throughout the house,” Gomez said. “Based on our data collection and analysis there were gas pockets throughout the house that we believe was the fuel source. With further investigation we believe the ignition source came from an electrical light fixture. We found some evidence of charring or what we believe was a flash around the ignition source.”

As for where the leak came from, Gomez said there were several appliances hooked up to the gas line and any one of them could have been the source. The evidence also indicated the area of the explosion’s origin was in the front half of the house where Dominguez was sleeping.

“Based on our information Mr. Dominguez was in a front bedroom at the time of the explosion,” Gomez said. “It’s just a blessing he survived. This is not a common occurrence, from this type of explosion to Mr. Dominguez surviving. You just don’t see this every day.”

While Dominguez was a bit relieved to hear the investigation’s findings, he had more important matters to tend to.

“I’m on my way to the hospital. They moved my surgery to today,” said Dominguez, who was to have a rod placed in his broken arm, the only serious injury he received from the accident.

“It had to be something,” added Dominguez regarding the investigation’s findings. “There was no fire. Either way, I am alive and that is what counts right now for me. I guess we’ll get the investigation report and we’ll go from there. My main goal right now is to get better and get back to work and we’ll deal with the other stuff (the home) later on.”

Dominguez said he was asleep when the explosion took place.

“It happened so quickly,” Dominguez said. “I went to bed around 9 o’clock and then there was the explosion and as I woke up I saw the stars in my room and I was covered in debris. Then I was hearing people yelling. I saw that my arm was broken and I got up. There were no walls in my bedroom and my neighbors grabbed me.”

Luckily, Dominguez was the only occupant in the house. His wife, Alma, was in Amarillo at the time. He was taken to Lea Regional Medical Center and then released Wednesday afternoon. His employer, Paul Campbell, got a hotel room for the Dominguez’s and the Red Cross got involved to help with clothes and supplies. Dominguez also said their neighbors are keeping an eye on what salvageable items were found during the investigation.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has prayed for our family and helped us,” Dominguez said. “I am very grateful to Mr. Campbell for what he has done for us.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the Dominguez’s. It can be accessed at www.gofundme.com/2huvj3z8.

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