Investigators believe a gas leak triggered an explosion at a Dorchester home Wednesday night that left two elderly people in critical condition and injured nine others, and are working to determine where the leak came from, fire officials said Thursday.
“They know the cause; now they’re looking at the origin,” Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.
The blast at 27 Hansborough St. occurred around 9:20 p.m. and quickly erupted into a three-alarm fire that prompted the evacuation of numerous families from nearby homes.
A spokesman for National Grid said that the utility is cooperating with the investigation, and that preliminary tests do not show gas leaks in the utility’s infrastructure.
National Grid crews were called to the street to investigate the odor of gas before the explosion, said spokesman Jake Navarro, and were in the process of checking the area when the house blew up. The check was not completed, said Navarro, but it had not turned up any gas readings.
He declined to specify the address crews were called to, but said it was several houses down and across the street from number 27.
At least two neighbors said Thursday they had smelled gas in recent days. Navarro said that he did not know whether crews had been called to the street in recent weeks, but that information would be part of the investigation.
On Thursday morning, several family members who live at 27 Hansborough St., including five children ages 4 to 16, returned to their home. They stood outside looking at the wreckage: the two-family house was blackened and sagging, the entire side wall missing, interior stairs visible from the sidewalk, and the front door blown across the street.
Roudy Jemedy, 49, said he was in the home with his two stepsons and his girlfriend’s mother when the explosion happened. His girlfriend, Carline Blaise, 42, was outside with the three other children.
Jemedy said he screamed at his stepsons to get out, and then tried to lift his girlfriend’s mother, who was lying in the kitchen covered with debris and bleeding from her mouth.
“I was swallowing the smoke. I couldn’t stand another 10 to 15 seconds, I cannot hold my breath that long,” he said.
So he ran outside and shouted to a group of three men to help. Some of the men then rushed in and saved the life of his girlfriend’s mother, he said. The woman was still in the hospital and had surgery on her lips, he said, but will be OK.