“Leveled to the ground:” 2 killed in home explosion in north Georgia

UNION COUNTY, Ga. — Firefighters are working to determine what caused a home to explode and kill two people in Union County Sunday morning.

Union County Fire/EMA said the explosion happened near Blairsville on Pauline Lane around 8 a.m. The home was destroyed and other nearby homes were damaged.

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NewsDrone 2 flew over what was left of the home Sunday.

The victims have not been identified, but a neighbor told Channel 2 Action News they were an older couple.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington arrived on the scene after the explosion. Washington talked to Phillippe Freitag, a neighbor who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

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Freitag said he was making breakfast when he heard the blast. Freitag knew his neighbors and rushed over to try to help.

“So I went over to investigate and that’s when I saw that my neighbor’s house had exploded,” Freitag said. “There wasn’t much of it left. A good size house was leveled to the ground.”

He said he tried to get inside, but heard what sounded like bullets going off.

“I started to run towards it to see if there was anything I could do to help and you could hear some bullets from their cash, starting to pop off, so I decided that it probably wasn’t the best idea.”

Neighbor Jane Stone also knew the couple.

“We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. They were very nice people,” she said.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but Washington watched as officials looked at the home’s gas tank. Neighbors told Washington they didn’t smell any gas or see anything out of the ordinary before the explosion.

“I mean it’s just awful,” Stone said.

Investigators remained at the house for the better part of the day just sifting through the rubble, which was mostly broken glass, lumber and a lot of insulation. Across the street, there was more debris inside the trees. That gives you an idea of how powerful the explosion was.

Crime scene tape remained up around the scene Sunday evening. Washington was told it will stay up for most of the week as the investigation continues.