‘They’re both lucky’: Two recovering following Janesville home explosion

JANESVILLE, Wis. — The two individuals who were inside a Janesville home Monday when it exploded are both recovering at UW-Hospital, according to the Janesville Fire Department.

The home, in the 700 block of Hawthorne Avenue, exploded following a natural gas leak.

“For the damage that’s there and the debris that had to have been flying around during the incident, they’re both very lucky to have made it out and be transported to the hospital,” said Deputy Chief James Ponkauskas of the Janesville Fire Department.

Ponkauskas says the residents inside had noticed a natural gas smell for several days, but had not called for help or notified their landlord. A lit cigarette triggered the explosion, Ponkauskas said.

PHOTOS: Home still smoking hours after explosion

“When we pulled up on scene, we noted full sections of walls pushed up against the trees, debris field, glass into the street and insulation up into the trees,” he said.

Ponkauskas says the correct thing to do if you notice a natural gas smell, which has a similar odor to rotting eggs, is to leave the house immediately. Then, he says it’s best to call your local fire department, as well as your electric provider.

“In a situation with natural gas, a small leak can fill an occupancy over time, and as it fills the explosive level will go up,” he said.

Fire officials are now conducting an investigation of the explosion and fire itself. The two individuals involved are said to have serious and minor injuries, respectively.

Family members are raising money for the loss of the home and medical bills. More information can be found in a GoFundMe link, here.