courtesy of The Boston Herald – Wednesday, December, 12, 2007
by Marie Szaniszlo
A contractor was inspecting a gas line yesterday in Groton when the house in front of him blew up, miraculously injuring no one.
David Fitzgerald and his wife were away when the 1:30 p.m. blast flattened their home at 44 Willowdale Road, leaving only the staircase standing.
“Obviously this wasn’t a little leak,” Groton Fire Chief Joe Bosselait said. “This was a major catastrophic failure. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Fitzgerald declined comment last night as a backhoe tore down what was left of his family’s two-story wood frame house, less than a quarter mile down the road from a housing complex for the elderly.
Residents reported hearing and feeling the blast from as far as a mile away.
“It just sounded like a huge boom,” said Christina Santiano, 21, a hair stylist at a salon only doors away from the blast. “The place shook and we all looked at each other, then we saw black smoke rising over the houses.”
The homes on either side of the blast were largely undamaged because firefighters were able to contain the blaze that resulted from the explosion.
Jan Woodhead, 53, of Australia was visiting a house doors away from the doomed home, but had decided to go see a movie. Just as the film was letting out her hosts called to say the neighborhood had changed since she’d left.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Woodhead said. “What will happen to all these people who lost everything? And just before Christmas.”