UPDATE: House explosion rocks La Grange

UPDATE: House explosion rocks La Grange

The remains of the house that exploded Saturday morning. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

UPDATE: Apr 13 at 6:20 p.m.

Statement by Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office:

Multiple local, state and federal fire investigators have concluded the on scene investigation of an explosion scene in La Grange. After completing their search of the remnants of the home and conducting interviews with witnesses and persons associated with the resident, investigators believe the explosion occurred because of an LP Gas leak in the home.

Major Ryan Dawson of the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office said “the ignition source of what caused the gas to ignite is undetermined. All of the investigators from the numerous agencies assisting believe that the source of the explosion and fire did occur in the kitchen, but they can not say for sure what made it ignite because there are so many things in a kitchen that could have caused a ‘spark’ with gas in the air. Based on the crime scene examination and the statements gathered, at this time it is not believed to be criminal in nature.”

Major Dawson said personnel would follow up with the victim at a future time to gather additional information to assist with the investigation. The victim of the incident was identified as Robert Lee Carraway Jr. He was transported to UNC Lenoir Hospital by Lenoir County EMS. The Sheriff’s Office was informed this afternoon that he would be transferred to UNC Chapel Hill Jaycee Burn Center for treatment of his injuries.

Major Dawson added, “our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Carraway and his family during this time of treatment and recovery.”

Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, Lenoir County Emergency Services, La Grange Fire Department, NCSBI, NCOSFM, and ATF responded and investigated the incident.


Originally published on Apr 13 at 4:20 p.m.

LA GRANGE — An explosion at a home rocked the town of La Grange Saturday morning, injuring its occupant.

A fire official photographs the debris from the house explosion. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

According to the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, the explosion occurred around 11:30 a.m. at a home on North Forbes Street. Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Jerri King said the cause of the explosion is not known at this time, but it is under investigation.

King said there was “minimal fire” following the explosion, which the La Grange Fire Department was able to put out right away when they arrived on the scene.

Deborah Rouse, who was at a group home adjacent to the incident, said that the explosion rocked the whole foundation of the house.

“It scared us real bad, because I had never felt anything like that before,” Rouse said.

She and the other occupants ran outside and saw the debris from the house. Rouse said she saw several neighbors who had been in their yard when the explosion occurred crawl into the wreckage and pull the occupant from the debris.

A home across the street from the explosion had multiple broken windows. Officials said at least four houses were damaged by the explosion. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

The occupant was taken to the hospital, suffering from burns, according to King. Debris from the explosion was spread across the yards of neighboring houses, and emergency services officials said that at least four other homes were damaged.

Joseph Carraway of La Grange said his father, Robert Carraway, lived in the house alone, and that he had been taken to Vidant Medical Center for treatment.

Vernon Johnson, who lives about a mile from the scene, said when he arrived following the explosion, Robert Carraway was talking and responsive before he was put into the ambulance. King said that Carraway would likely be transferred to the UNC Chapel Hill Burn Unit for treatment.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion is underway, and the LCSO, LCES, State Bureau of Investigation, N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are cooperating.

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