Woman dead, man rescued from rubble after North Carolina house explosion, fire officials say

A woman has died and a man suffered life-threatening injuries following a house explosion in North Carolina on Tuesday, fire officials said.

Firefighters said it took about seven hours to find the woman and about two hours to free the man from a home leveled by a fire in the Charlotte neighborhood of Ballantyne. They said the man managed to call 911 and alert rescuers to his location.

The Charlotte Fire Department tweeted on Tuesday, “One patient has been freed conscious & alert; patient turned over to @MecklenburgEMS & taken by helicopter to area hospital.”

Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said the man called emergency operators to tell them he was trapped inside the shattered home. He told operators where he was in the home but did not say what caused the explosion, which happened around 1:50 p.m.

Fire officials said the man indicated a woman was inside the home at the time of the explosion as well, so firefighters spent hours trying to find her.

Firefighters conducted the rescue operation until they found the woman around 9 p.m.

The identities of the victims have not yet been released.  Fire officials also did not disclose the relationship between the two.

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More than 80 firefighters were searching through the rubble on James Jack Lane on Tuesday, Fox 46 reported.

Fire officials said seven firefighters were treated at the scene for dehydration after spending hours in 90-degree temperatures searching for the victims.

The seven firefighters who were treated on scene with IV’s returned to duty, another firefighter suffering from dehydration was transported to a local hospital for treatment, according to a tweet from the Charlotte Fire Department.

Reports indicated firefighters were in full gear when they arrived on scene but were down to their T-shirts as they sifted through the rubble in the scorching heat.

Neighbors reportedly felt the impact of the blast. A next-door neighbor’s windows were blown out, the drywall cracked, lights fell down and items were blasted off of their counters, according to Fox 46.

Firefighters looking over the wreckage following the fire and explosion at the home in Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Firefighters looking over the wreckage following the fire and explosion at the home in Charlotte on Tuesday.  (Charlotte Fire Department via AP)

An emergency medical services agency said two people living in surrounding homes were being evaluated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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Firefighters said the investigation into the blast was ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.