WILLIS, Texas - Investigators spent most of Tuesday sifting through debris, trying to figure out what caused a house in Montgomery County to explode.
Three people, a wife, her husband and his brother were at home around 5 a.m. along Mandy Lane in Willis when the blast occurred. All three were so badly injured, they had to be flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston by helicopter. At last check, the husband was in critical condition.
The explosion, which could be heard up to six miles away, leveled the home.
Paul Martinez lives about three miles away. He said the explosion rattled the walls of his home.
"I got a fixture on my wall, and usually when lightning strikes, it shakes that fixture," said Martinez. "And at five o'clock exactly, it looked like someone hit the wall at the side of my bed, it rattled that much."
The explosion sent debris flying about 600 feet from the blast sight, damaging nearby homes.
Lesley Mason lives next door. When she heard the noise, her husband ran outside to investigate.
"And he comes running back inside and says no, there was an explosion, their house is gone," said Mason.
Mason ran outside to check on her neighbors, only to find them lying on the ground, burned and bleeding.
Fearing another explosion, Mason and others tried to move the victims to a safer location.
"But they were so burned, that it was hard to touch them. They didn't want to be touched, but we had to get them out of there," said Mason.
Mason said despite her pain, the female victim managed to ask about her seven dogs.
"I told her, I volunteer with the animal shelter. And we'll all band together and look for her animals," said Mason.
Two of the dogs died in the explosion, but neighbors are taking care of the rest.
Officials with the State Fire Marshal's Office along with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms are heading up the investigation. It could take several days or weeks to figure out exactly what happened.