BRADENTON, Fla. — A father and son suffered serious burns after an explosion happened at their Manatee County home on Thursday.
The family's attorney, CJ Czaia, said Adrian Lopez, Sr. and his son remain hospitalized in an intensive care unit at Blake Medical Center. He said both remain in a coma.
"They have severe burns all over their bodies. The more severely hurt one is the young man. He is a 23-year-old college student. He will need skin graphs and so forth. It's very intense injuries," said Attorney CJ Czaia.
Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue said crews responded after a report of a natural gas leak in the 2900 block of 9th Street West around 11:30 a.m.
About 2 hours later, the explosion occurred at the home on 29th Avenue West. Fire crews said it was determined there was a gas build-up in the sewer lines.
"They should have done a better job of clearing the neighborhood and protecting the community. They failed," said Czaia.
A spokesperson for Peoples Gas said in a statement:
"Peoples Gas Peoples Gas worked closely with the fire department to respond to the reports of the smell of natural gas near an excavation site in Bradenton mid-day yesterday. While crews and representatives from the fire department were working in the area to locate the source of the natural gas odor and make the excavation area safe, the explosion occurred at a residence. The incident is under investigation and we are cooperating with local fire department officials, who are leading the investigation."
Francisca Lopez was also inside the home at the time of the explosion, however, she escaped without serious injuries. She went to the hospital hours later.
"More of inhalation of the gases is her issue. She was kept overnight last night in the hospital and tonight. We don't know how long she'll be there. Her concerns are her heart and problems with her lungs," said Czaia.
The Lopez family lost everything inside their home. The community has set up a GoFundMe page.
"They lost their home, everything, their papers, all the important things. They just put a manger in the front yard celebrating Christmas. They're a Christian type of family and then 'boom.' Everything is gone," said Czaia.