Couple recall seconds before explosion
A failed section of natural gas pipe caused an explosion Thursday that demolished three-quarters of a house on Andria Drive off Kingsbury Grade, according to a spokesperson for Southwest Gas.
The gas corporation has finished their on-site investigation and sent the section of failed pipe to be tested in a Chicago lab. They have not yet determined what ignited the gas.
The couple who owns the 2,400 square-foot house were at home when the explosion occurred.
Hans Rosevold, 58, was eating a turkey sandwich in his kitchen when the blast hurdled him over an 8-foot pine tree and out onto the front lawn. He escaped with bruised buttocks, but his wife Suzanne, 47, was not so lucky. She was released from Barton Memorial Hospital Monday after five days of treatment for a broken right heel and a broken bone in her back.
Suzanne was playing the piano in her living room, 20 feet from the heart of the explosion. She crawled out the back of the house with the help of a neighbor and her shell shocked husband.
“She started screaming, so I ran back to the house and crawled in the middle of the back of the house,” Hans, a retired Air Force colonel, said. “It was bizarre, a nightmare. It was just so violent, just like a (pilot’s) ejection seat. They were working on the gas at the time, but I didn’t have time to think about it.”
Southwest Gas serves the Rosevold house and 23,000 other customers in the basin. Robyn Clayton, spokesperson for the gas corporation, said the explosion occurred close to the gas meter and that there was a leak survey team on the Rosevold property before the explosion occurred.
“On that property at that time we had called in a Code 1, which means someone smelled gas,” she said. “A truck was on the way to the house when the explosion occurred.”
Clayton said Southwest doesn’t know if outside forces caused the accident.
“Something like this is so extremely rare,” she said. “There was some construction in the area of our line 15 to 20 years ago. A front porch had been built and taken away. We want to see if that had anything to do with this.”
The leak check Southwest was performing is routine and residential gas lines, by law, have to be checked every five years, Clayton said. She added that age is never a factor in failed gas lines, but sometimes soil subsiding can bend a pipe or construction crews will accidentally hit a line.
Suzanne is executive director of the Business Council of Douglas County, which represents 45 business in the county. “She’ll be back to work hopefully in two weeks,” said Rudy McTee, 61, president of the council and owner of Silver State Roofing Materials in Gardnerville. “She’s in good spirits. She has to go back in the hospital and have a little more work done next week.”
Hans works at Alpine County as a teacher at a secondary day school. He and Suzanne have six grown children, all who have moved out of the family house. Hans said he may be back teaching in a few weeks, but now his only concern is helping his wife make a full recovery.
The Rosevolds are staying at a South Shore hotel until they find a house in the area to rent.
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