Gas explosion levels home in Draper
Rubble • A helicopter flew one person to a hospital.
Published: July 25, 2014 02:14PM
Updated: August 2, 2014 09:54AM
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Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Unified Fire and emergency personnel respond to an explosion and fire in Junction Circle in Draper Friday July 25.

Draper • Two hours after he heard the boom and his neighbor’s house exploded, James Banford was able to see the south side of his own Draper home for the first time.

The police tape that had cordoned his cul-de-sac was taken down for just a few moments, so he treaded lightly over black ash and broken glass that had collected in his yard, and looked up.

All of the siding on his house had melted. The window in their bedroom was blown out. The fence that separated his home from his neighbors was gone. He pointed to a bare area in his backyard — a patio once stood there.

“I’m in shock,” he said as he faced his home and surveyed the damage.

Behind him, Unified Fire Authority crews worked to douse hot spots at his neighbor’s house, near 15000 South and 235 East. The explosion and subsequent fire at the home was reported just after 7:20 a.m.

“My wife and I were sleeping,” Banford said. “We [heard] a tremendous, I mean a tremendous, explosion.”

Two hours after the explosion, only the two-story home’s frame and foundation remained. Jared Norton, a public information officer for Unified Fire Authority, said the cause and origin of the two-alarm fire are under investigation. Draper city officials said in a tweet that the fire was caused by a gas explosion.

UFA spokesman Chris Atkin said Friday morning that a helicopter flew one burn victim to a hospital, but he had no other details about the extent of his injuries.

David Politis, who lives one street west, said he heard an explosion and ran outside to help. He saw two men surrounding another man, whose clothes had been burned off.

“I wasn’t worried about what happened [to the house],” said Politis, who gave a blanket and water to the injured man before emergency crews arrived. “I was concerned with bringing aid and comfort to him.”

Neighbors said the man’s family was away and he was the only one in the house at the time of the explosion.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller

pmanson@sltrib.com

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC