LFR: Tech Terrace explosions caused by fire heating cylinders of compressed gas

LFR: Tech Terrace explosions caused by fire heating cylinders of compressed gas
Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD
Back yard of house next door to explosion site (Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD)
Back yard of house next door to explosion site (Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD)
Back yard of house next door to explosion site (Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD)
Back yard of house next door to explosion site (Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD)
Back yard of house next door to explosion site (Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD)
Back yard of house next door to explosion site (Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD)
Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD
Source: Caleb Holder, KCBD

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock fire investigators released their initial report on Thursday night, as they work to determine the cause of a deadly fire and house explosion in Tech Terrace.

The report says a fire started at the rear of the structure under the carport. The heat from the fire "impinged on several cylinders of compressed gas," causing them to explode. The first cylinders exploded just before Lubbock firefighters arrived on scene. Explosions continued as other cylinders reached an overpressure point.

Our crew grabbed a photo of an exploded metal tank in the driveway of the home next door.

Here's the full statement from Lubbock Fire Rescue:

Late this afternoon, the group of fire investigators completed their initial examination of the fire scene. They report that a fire of unknown origin started at the rear of the structure, under the carport area. The heat from the initial fire then impinged on several cylinders of compressed gas. The cylinders reached an overpressure point and exploded just prior to the arrival of Lubbock Fire Rescue. Several other explosions occurred as other cylinders reached the point of overpressure over the next several minutes as firefighters fought to bring it under control.

LFR Hazmat was call back to the scene for about two hours on Thursday and left at 5:30 p.m.

We will continue to update this story as more details are released.

The explosion happened just before 10 p.m. Tuesday night at a home in the 2900 block of 21st Street.

Witnesses said the explosion was felt several blocks away. Windows in the house across the street were shattered by the blast. A house on the corner of 21st & Canton actually had a piece of debris from the explosion land on their roof.

According to the Lubbock Police Department, multiple victims were found at the scene when they arrived.

One of the victims, 72-year-old John Fleming, was pronounced deceased at the scene, while three additional victims were taken to University Medical Center by ambulance with serious injuries. Officials say 45-year-old Rodica Gelca, one of the three taken to the hospital, was later pronounced deceased at UMC. Officials say Gelca was trying to help put out the fire.

The additional two people who were transported are expected to recover, according to officials. Three Lubbock firefighters were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries and have since been released from the hospital.

According to our research, John Flemming owned the home and ran the business E2Amm LLC out of the home. The company manufactures hydrogen and ammonia modules. At this time, authorities have not said if the chemicals in the home caused the explosion.

Although there were some concerns about possible hazardous materials at the scene, Lubbock Fire Rescue issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon to try and "dispel any rumors of chemicals in the air in this area."

Fire investigators have not identified a cause of the fire at this time, but they say it "is not believed to be criminal in nature."

Copyright 2018 KCBD. All rights reserved.