House explodes in Everett


EVERETT, Wash. - Squatters may be responsible for an explosion Wednesday morning at an Everett home that blew out windows and was strong enough to take it off its foundation.

The incident happened in the 1200 block of 41st Street shortly after 10 a.m.

According to officials with the Everett Fire Department, there was a report of an explosion at a house with the front door and windows blown out.

Firefighters rushed to the scene to check out the house. There was smoke coming out of the house, and crews put out a small fire. 

There were no reports of injuries.

Police said that a 35-year-old man was in the basement cutting a natural gas pipe to sell for scrap metal.

He reportedly heard a hissing sound, lit a cigarette, and felt the home blow up.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness news reporter Lee Stoll spoke with neighbor Jon Hume, who said that he saw the man run from the house.

"It was a big enough boom that it shook our house and woke everyone up in the area and got them to come outside," Hume said.

"I was laying in bed, got off the phone, boom. Glass crash. Why is surround sound on? (It was) like watching a movie. Smoke from house, glass. What the hell? Ran down, yelled, 'Something just blew up!'" said Hume.

"When I walked out, literally, front of the house blew up, no glass, no windows, front door on the ground. It was crazy," said another neighbor, Zack Mansfield.

Broken glass showered Cynthia Watters's home while her three young grandchildren were inside.

Watters said that she sent the children to a park while she surveyed damage to her daughter's van, which was scratched in the explosion.

Neighbors said that squatters have been in and out of the house for months. Watters said that she has called police several times.

Police posted a notice in February that condemned the house, but Watters said that people kept coming back.

"It makes you stop and think just how easy something like this happens," she said.

Crews worked to make sure the house was safe enough to enter and shut off the natural gas line to the home.

According to Rick Robinson, Everett Fire Department fire marshal, the man who ran from the house was detained by officers and interviewed by investigators at the scene. He was later released and ordered not to return to the location pending further investigation. 

However, the man did return and entered the damaged house. He was arrested and booked into Snohomish County Jail on trespass charges.