Miscommunication Stalls Gertie Street Explosion Investigation

It has been nearly two months since a home on Gertie Street, near Everhart and Alameda, burst into flames and sent one woman to the hospital.

Fortunately, she recovered from her injuries and is doing fine, but fire investigators still have not been able to get back inside the home to try and figure out what happened, and why it happened.

For one thing, the home is still as it was the day of the blast. It is in ruins, and the homeowner did not have insurance.

The explosion happened back on Sept. 17, after the homeowner said she lit a cigarette and then the house blew up. City gas crews did not find any evidence outside of the house that there had been a gas leak.

Still, fire investigators say they aren't sure why the explosion happened, because they haven't been able to get inside the home because it is a danger to their investigator.

Fire officials say they believe that Code Enforcement was working to make the house safe so they could go inside.

"City Code Enforcement is trying to work with the person who has the responsibility for the property, to get them some assistance in being able to remove the debris, and until that debris is removed, then we are limited in what we can go in and try and determine what the cause might have been," said Captain James Brown of the Corpus Christi Fire Department.

However, the man in charge of Code Enforcement, Eddie Ortega, said his department was not working with the homeowner to get the home made safe so investigators could get inside. He said the fire department had not cleared the building for his people to work the case.

Fire Chief Robert Rocha, who looked into the matter, said that there must have been a communication problem, and he will work with Code Enforcement to get one of his investigators inside that house. He said he will make sure the effort to get that done will be redoubled.


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