Rathdrum home explosion forces neighborhood to evacuate

RATHDRUM, Idaho– A gas leak at a house in Rathdrum caused it to explode Thursday afternoon.

Northern Lakes Fire said three people were inside the home when it exploded. One of the people in the home was an Avista rep who got first-degree burns on the back of his neck. The two other people inside were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Northern Lakes Fire Marshal Tyler Drechsel. The Avista worker stayed at the home, Drechsel said.

Drechsel said about an hour and a half before the home exploded there was a contractor working in the front yard. The contractor hit a gas line while running fiber optic cable, so Avista and the fire department were called in to help, Drechsel said.

Drechsel said the explosion happened soon after the gas leak. The gas migrated through the ground and filled the home with gas in void spaces, Drechsel said. Then, when the power to the home was re-energized, a spark or something ignited the gas inside. However, firefighters said they aren’t sure exactly what sparked it just yet.

Firefighters said the home was a total loss.

The neighborhood around the home was evacuated– which is 15 houses. So far, there is no estimated time for when the people who are evacuated will get to go home. Avista said it they can’t go back Thursday night, they will put them up in a hotel room.

You can find an extended interview from Northern Lakes Fire Marshal Tyler Drechsel here. 

This is a developing story.