• Retired firefighter loses home in gas line explosion

    By: Craig Lucie


    ATLANTA - A retired Atlanta firefighter lost his home Monday afternoon after strong winds blew a tree on top of it, causing a gas line to explode.

    He told Channel 2's Craig Lucie that he knew he was in good hands although there wasn't much they could do so save his house.

    All Albert Appling could do was watch.

    "The side that the tree fell on, that's where my granddaughter sleeps," Appling said.

    Fortunately his granddaughter was at school and his daughter left just minutes before strong winds blew the massive tree on top of their home.

    "We heard something in the background, and we turned around and looked and tree was going over and landed on that house," Rashard Sargent said.

    Sargent was working a block away and first heard the tree split, and then watched as it came crashing down.

    First, the home started smoking, but downed, sparking power lines ignited a ruptured gas line.

    "Raging sparks were flying and little mini explosions. Kind of crazy. It was very crazy," Stephanie Yelverton explained.

    Yelverton lost half of her home when the winds blew the flames next door.

    Appling told Lucie that he fought fires like this for 30 years, and he even talked with his former co-workers as they worked.

    "I know they were going to do a good job. The way I feel about this is no one got hurt. It's materialized. You can't prevent what Mother Nature has (planned)," Appling said.

    Appling and Yelverton both have insurance. Firefighters said no one got hurt.

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    Retired firefighter loses home in gas line explosion