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North side gas explosion injures one

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One man treated, released from hospital

One person was injured in a roofing accident caused by a blowtorch that was too close to a gas line, officials said. Gallup Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Jesus Morales said construction workers were repairing one of two roofs at a home at 215 W. Lincoln Ave., when an explosion occurred at about 5:50 pm Sept. 7.

Workers were warming up tar to slather on the roof prior to laying shingles.

Antonio Castaneda, 41, a worker with Dominguez Construction of Gallup, was working atop the home. He said he was using the torch and it apparently got a little too close to the line.

“That was it,” he said. “It just got a little close and ignited.”

Morales said one of the workers suffered minor skin injuries and was taken to Rehoboth McKinley County Hospital where he was treated and released.

According to Morales, firefighters arrived on the scene within minutes of the incident, and immediately shut off the electricity and gas, which prevented the situation from getting worse.

“We were able to get the situation under control in a matter of minutes,” he said.

The Gallup Police Department helped to keep the scene safe and assisted with traffic control.

“We didn’t see anything, but we heard an explosion,” Joleen Nuñez, who lives across the street from the location of the explosion, said. “Then I saw the fire department and police arrive.”

Asked if a gas line running that far up a home is normal, Morales said there are quite a few homes in Gallup built years ago that were constructed that way.

Morales wasn’t able to provide the amount in damages, but said the case is under investigation.

By Bernie Dotson
Sun Correspondent