Dec. home explosion likely caused by natural gas leak

Jan 10, 2019

The aftermath of a large home explosion off the Sterling Highway in late December.
Credit Kachemak Emergency Services-Travis Ogden

A large home explosion in the Homer area that sent debris flying across the Sterling Highway and beyond  in late December was likely a natural gas explosion, according to authorities. No one was home at the time of the explosion and there were no reports of injuries.

Kachemak Emergency Services is leading the investigation, which is still ongoing, but Chief Bob Cicciarella said a gas leak inside the home appears to have been the cause of the blast.

“Gas is lighter than air, natural gas is, and it rises. So it probably filled the house and banked back down again,” he explained. “Because that’s usually what it does in a situation like this and then found an ignition source some place. That’s part of what we have to determine in our investigation.”

Cicciarella said it takes a large amount of gas to create an explosion such as this one, which completely obliterated the home just north of Homer.

It’s unknown how long it may take to complete the investigation.

“It may even be difficult to come to a final determination exactly because there’s logs that have to be lifted. There’s things scattered all over the place and we have to piece it all back together to a certain extent,” he Cicciarella said, “which we may not be able to do with resources and so forth to get a 100 percent determination.”

Cicciarella adds that while these types of events are extremely rare, it’s never a bad time for area residents to get their natural gas systems inspected.

He said that homeowners should also rely on official information about gas safety from their gas company and their local fire department, not social media.