Authorities investigating gas explosion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

NATCHEZ — Authorities are investigating the cause of the gas explosion on Maple Street Wednesday morning.

Natchez Fire Marshal Aaron Wesley said little is known of the explosion that occurred at 703 Maple St.

“The call came in at 3:06 a.m.,” Wesley said. “We do know it was natural gas that caused the explosion.

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“We should have more information (Thursday,)” he said.

The NFD responded after receiving a call from a neighbor.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the second floor, north apartment engulfed in flames.

After searching the scene, firefighters found no one in the apartment.

No injuries were reported.

Wesley said gas explosions are a rare occurrence and officials are trying to pinpoint what may have led to the explosion.

Atmos Energy’s Director of Public Affairs in Mississippi Robert Lesley said a company crew has been working with local authorities on investigating the scene.

The authorities are doing the actual investigating,” Lesley said. “Our crew’s task is to make sure the system is safe, and they have done that.”

Lesley said the Maple Street area has been declared safe, and that no official statement will be given from the company until the investigation is complete.

Officials with the NFD are interviewing witnesses, the building owner and the current renters of the apartment.