DALLAS – Federal investigators arrived in Dallas Sunday to look into a suspected natural gas leak that caused an explosion at a newly renovated house, killing a 12-year-old girl and injuring four other members of her family.
Ravi Chhatre, head of a three-person National Transportation Safety Board team, said he was early in the process of gathering information after firefighters Friday found the home shattered but no fire. Four injured people were in the front yard and one of them was holding the unconscious girl, Linda Rogers, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.
"We don't want any community to go through a tragedy like you guys have," Chhatre said at a news briefing shortly after arriving at the scene. "We don't want homes getting exploded."
Two other gas-related problems were reported last week in the neighborhood where a construction crew had been working. City officials on Saturday lifted a mandatory evacuation order for about 300 families in the area but natural gas service was suspended.
He said the NTSB had jurisdiction because of the case involved an apparent pipeline accident, a fatality and damage.
Asked if he had any preliminary findings, Chhatre replied, "Right now, I haven't reached anything. Right now, I'm looking to see where I move."
He said he might have "a better picture" in a couple of days but said the agency's investigations typically take six months to a year, depending on nature of the accident.
"We don't rush any investigation," he said. "Accuracy is more important to us."