December 19, 2014

Elyria
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UPDATED: Fire officials say gas leak to blame for Elyria home explosion

By Evan Goodenow and Lisa Roberson
Chronicle-Telegram staff

After firefighters extinguished flames after a suspected home explosion, police were able to survey the scene at a Bath Street home in Elyria on Saturday morning. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

After firefighters extinguished flames after a suspected home explosion, police were able to survey the scene at a Bath Street home in Elyria on Saturday morning. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — A natural gas leak likely caused a Saturday explosion and fire at an apartment at 187 Bath St. that badly burned a resident.

Fire Marshal Carl Keith said Monday electrical problems were ruled out, and the explosion and fire are believed to be accidental. Keith said the explosion occurred in Apt. 3 of the five-unit home where resident Krystalyn Morris lived.

Morris, 24, was burned over 29 percent of her body, Keith said. Morris was in serious condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland early this morning, a nursing supervisor said.

Keith said he’s still trying to determine what caused the leak and expects to have more details later this week. The fire caused about $40,000 in structural damage and $15,000 to belongings, Assistant Chief Tim Mitchell said.

Columbia Gas of Ohio spokesman Ray Frank said gas lines to the house were intact, but lines inside the house were still being inspected. He said it was unusual that no one reported smelling gas.

Frank said Columbia employees are thinking of and praying for Morris. “Hopefully, she’ll make a speedy recovery,” he said.

Tina Manning, who lived in the apartment next to Morris, said Morris came into her apartment after the explosion screaming for her to call 911 and begging to use the shower. “She kept saying she lit a cigarette and the place just exploded,” Manning said.

When burn victim Suzy Dohanos heard about Morris, she said bad memories returned.

“It hit me hard,” said Dohanos, badly burned in a fire at her Brandston Avenue home in 2009. “I remembered what happened to me, and that girl is young enough to be my daughter.”

Dohanos is still healing from burns to her face, chest, upper body and arms. The years since the fire have been filled with doctors’ appointments, surgeries and skin grafts, she said.

Dohanos, who was treated in the same burn unit at Metro as Morris, said Morris is starting a long and painful journey. Dohanos said she would like to speak to Morris and her family if they want advice. She recommended taking everything one day at a time.

“Just pray and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “My faith is the only thing that has kept me going.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.