Alaska News

Unoccupied house near Homer destroyed by explosion linked to gas

A two-story home in Anchor Point was destroyed by what is believed to be a gas explosion Thursday night, Alaska State Troopers say.

Troopers responding to a report of an explosion near Mile 165 of the Sterling Highway at about 10 p.m. came across debris blocking the highway and found the home destroyed, according to a dispatch posted Friday morning. The house wasn’t occupied at the time.

Authorities closed the highway until about 4:30 a.m. Friday.

An Enstar Natural Gas Co. spokeswoman said the explosion had not been linked definitively to natural gas. Homes destroyed by natural gas explosions are rare in Alaska, spokeswoman Lindsay Hobson said.

“Here it’s too early for us to even speculate," Hobson said.

Gas-related blasts in Kenai nearly two years ago shot a roof 40-50 feet off one house. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake in January 2016 ruptured a natural gas line leading to smaller individual house lines, fire officials said at the time. That break led to two smaller explosions a few hours apart that burned four homes and three vehicles.

The extent of the damage at the Anchor Point home indicates a “fuel-air source” explosion, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said. Whether the fuel was natural gas or propane or some other type has yet to be determined.

“The source is still under investigation but when you see this kind of damage, which does happen in Alaska sometimes a couple times a year, it’s almost certainly caused by some type of gas, whether it’s propane or natural gas,” DeSpain said.

Following Thursday night’s explosion, the home’s roof flew 150 to 200 feet across the road, troopers said. Multiple people called to report damage to their homes due to the explosion. More felt it.

The reports included people saying their windows got blown out, DeSpain said.

No injuries had been reported as of Friday. Homer Electric Association and Enstar secured utilities.