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Investigation at AEI Construction after Barnesville Explosion - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Investigation at AEI Construction after Barnesville Explosion

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TUESDAY UPDATE

After an explosion blew the garage door off of a Barnesville, Minnesota, home on Monday, the company that was installing fiber-optic cable in the area has stopped all work. A company Spokesperson with AEI Construction says they are instead is focusing on re-inspecting the work they've already done to make sure there are no problems.

The explosion Monday morning heavily damaged the home of Dorothy Holland. Fortunately, she was not home at the time. Fire officials believe the pressure of the gas build-up went up the stairs and blew the garage door off the front of her house. There is also structural damage to the inside and she is not able to live there currently.

AEI Construction says when they were putting the fiber-optics in the ground at Holland's home, a propane line was pinched. That, they say, may have caused the propane to leak and build up in the house. Fire investigators say propane was ignited, possibly by the water heater, setting off the blast.

AEI Construction says they are cooperating with the investigation and have launched more safety measures aimed at making sure there are no other problems.

MONDAY UPDATE

A Barnesville, Minnesota woman left to run errands in Moorhead and returned home to find there had been an explosion in her home around 10:30 Monday morning. The city's police chief says a company was installing fiber-optic cable for the city when they accidentally cut a propane gas line to her home.

"I don't know what to do..." says homeowner Dorothy Holland. Holland says she's had to deal with some tough times lately, including the loss of a family member. Now, the explosion which caused extensive damage and blew out her garage door is making her look for a place to stay.

"I don't know. I can't hardly grasp all this anymore," she says.

Police say the gas could have been leaking into her home for a couple of days. They believe the water heater sparked the explosion.

"It wasn't a sharp bang...it was just a...womp!" says neighbor John Hagen. He lives next door and didn't know what the noise was until emergency crews arrived.

"We wanted to see what was happening... come around the corner and see that the garage door was laying there," he says.

Emergency responders say the fire was out when they arrived and Holland is lucky she wasn't home at the time.

"Structurally there's damage that we can't see. Definitely won't be able to live in it until it's checked out," says Barnesville Fire Chief Michael Stetz.

But now, Holland is trying to figure out where to go. "Well, none of my boys live around here, so I'll have to call somebody," she says.

Emergency response officials say John Hagen's residence next door in the twin home appears to be fine. Holland is planning on staying with friends and family while her home is inspected for damage.

ORIGINAL STORY

Breaking news out of Barnesville, Minnesota: Emergency personnel are responding to a report of an explosion at a home. The call came in just before 10:30 Monday morning from the 1000 block of 9th Street Southeast.

The person who reported it said they heard an explosion and saw a door blow off of a garage. They also reported seeing smoke and smelling fumes. 

Valley News Team's Mellaney Moore just talked to the Barnesville fire chief who says they believe it was apropane explosion in the basement. Fire investigators think it may have been related to the furnace. The fire chief tells Valley News Live the pressure of the explosion came up the stairs and blew the garage door off of the house. He adds, there is extensive damage to the inside of the home.

One elderly woman lives in the twin home, but wasn't there at the time of the explosion. Fire officials say it will be quite some time before she will be able to live in the house. The neighbor in the adjoining home says he heard the explosion but no damage was done to his house.

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