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Explosion in Edgemoor home leaves kids, nanny unharmed

Two young children and a nanny weren’t hurt Friday afternoon, March 13, when an explosion in a basement rattled a home in the Edgemoor neighborhood, according to the Bellingham Fire Department.

Earlier Friday a private contractor had been working on natural gas piping in another part of the home in the 400 block of Briar Road. A loud boom in the basement shook the house around 3 p.m. The nanny helped to evacuate the two kids right away, said Bellingham Assistant Fire Chief Bill Hewett.

By the time firefighters arrived the one-story home was filling with natural gas. So the gas was shut off, then the power was shut off. Fortunately, Hewett said, nothing ignited the natural gas already flooding the house. Firefighters spent about 2 ½ hours on scene, venting gas and investigating the cause of the explosion.

They found pressure buildup had caused the home’s gas heater to explode in the basement, rupturing its link to the natural gas line. There was no sign of a fire or combustion, but the blast damaged an 8-by-8-foot section of wall, spewed debris about 20 feet, and might have caused structural damage to some support beams, Hewett said.

A stuck pressure valve can be a common cause for that kind of explosion, Hewett said, however the exact cause hadn’t been determined Friday evening. Damage was estimated to be at least $10,000, and much more if there’s structural damage.