12-year-old killed, 4 others injured after house explosion in Texas

A 12-year-old girl died and several others were injured after a natural gas explosion nearly leveled their Texas home early Friday morning.

Officials said the explosion occurred around 6:30 a.m. at a home on Espanola Drive in Dallas.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans told reporters the family that lived in the home were all inside when the explosion happened and that at least four other people were hurt. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

Officials identified the young girl who died as 12-year-old Linda Michelle Rogers, who went by Michellita, Fox 4 News reported.

“Michellita was joyful. When she wasn’t there, you knew she wasn't there,” Latoya Gibson, the girl’s cheerleading coach told the news station. “You would try to fill that energy, but her spirit was so bright.”

Neighbors told reporters the force of the explosion was so strong that they heard and felt it from several blocks away.

“I was sleeping when I heard like a big bomb,” Elisa Martinez, who lives next door to the home, told CBSDFW.com.

The force of the blast blew the house off its foundation and destroyed the roof. The front yard was littered with debris.

Seven blocks around the house were evacuated after neighbors reported there have been two other gas-related fires in the area this week. A local energy company shut off the gas while the investigation continues.

Neighbors told reporters Friday’s tragic incident was the third over the past couple of days.

“There’s a huge gas leak that’s been going on for days,” David McCoy told CBSDFW.com, adding: “I’m worried for the whole neighborhood because that whole neighborhood is blowing up.”

Evans told Fox 4 News that one person was injured in a small fire on Wednesday while another was hurt Thursday in a kitchen fire.

“We do suspect that this, with it being so close and being on the same exact block number, that they are most likely all related as far as the gas is concerned,” Evans said.

Neighbors told Dallas News that the family had recently moved into the home after renovating.