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Investigators Say Gas Leak Fueled Home Explosion

Esther Honig
Residents of this Madison Township neighborhood say they've reported several gas leaks before Monday's home explosion.

A natural gas leak contributed to the home explosion in southeastern Franklin County that killed a woman, but the exact cause of the leak is still unknown.

State investigators say a preliminary investigation shows the explosion was fueled by a natural gas leak. In a statement Wednesday, Columbia Gas of Ohio said they are confident their main lines and service lines did not contribute to the explosion.

Emergency responders received several calls from neighbors around 4 a.m. Monday after the explosion on Everson Road East in Madison Township.

Shelly Williams, 54, was pulled from the debris, while her longtime boyfriend, 59-year-old Stewart Bell, was thrown from the home. Williams later died from her injuries. Bell was hospitalized, and their family dog survived.

Bell told The Columbus Dispatch this week that he smelled gas in the area last week, but he didn't call because there was no smell inside the house.

Records from the Public Utility Commission of Ohio show that since late 2014, residents on Everson Road made six complaints about gas odors. An earlier statement from Columbia said crews inspected the area in 2016 and found no leaks in main or service lines.

A spokeswoman for Columbus Gas says crews have turned off the gas line at the home after the explosion.

Fire officials have yet to determine the cause of the explosion. An investigation continues.