9 injured in suspected natural gas explosion in Denver that destroyed a house on Santa Fe Drive

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A home explosion on Santa Fe Drive in Denver’s Baker neighborhood, Aug. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A house near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive has been destroyed after an explosion, according to the Denver Fire Department.

Denver Fire spokesman Greg Pixley said the department got the call at 1:15 p.m. One person was trapped but has been rescued. There were nine people injured (the number was first reported by Pixley as 10), all of them adults. Seven people were treated and released and two were taken to Denver Health. Of those two, one person is in stable condition and one is in critical condition.

"We are glad to say we have no reports of loss of life," he said.

Pixley told reporters on Tuesday afternoon the home at 368 N Santa Fe Dr. was the source of the natural gas explosion, prompting Xcel energy to shut down gas in the area, according to KDVR.

At least four buildings have been damaged and as of 2 p.m. there was still an active fire. Natural gas is the suspected culprit, but that hasn't been confirmed, and the fire department is working with Xcel Energy.

Pixley said the department hasn't seen anything like this in the last decade, but that there was a similar incident a few blocks away on Sante Fe Drive about 15 years ago.

Kelly McBroom, who lives nearby, was sitting outside when she heard the explosion.

"It was really loud," she said, adding that she saw debris flying.

At least two witnesses along Fourth Avenue said they felt their homes shake. One man who lives two units down from the explosion site said he was about to take a shower when he felt the ground shaking.

“I thought it was an earthquake,” he said.

Claudia Lopez, who lives on the 300 block of Inca Street, said she felt the explosion but she didn’t hear it. She’s felt earthquakes before.

“It was like an earthquake. It’s terrible, it’s scary,” she said. “... I hope everyone gets out okay."

Her husband, Manuel Lopez, said it felt like something large had fallen on top of the house. He saw a woman who was screaming and smelled gas, and said he tried to go in.

Afterward, outside Baker Neighborhood Market on Fourth Avenue, people had started gathering around a laptop live-streaming TV coverage of the explosion just down the street. Store owner Eileen Andrews said there were men working on her HVAC when the explosion happened, prompting them to rush to the scene.

After she got out of the store, she saw a large plume of black smoke overhead. She ran alongside the men and said she saw a man who looked half-naked, like his “clothes had been blown off him.” She said he was bloody and grey, covered in debris, and looked “like the people who had been walking out of the World Trade Center” after the terrorist attacks.

Santa Fe is closed from Ellsworth Avenue to Fifth Avenue, according to Denver Police.

An investigation is ongoing.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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