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What homeowner says sparked an explosion

Posted: 4:20 PM, May 13, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-13 23:47:52-04
Hamilton home destroyed after massive fire
Hamilton home destroyed after massive fire
Hamilton home destroyed after massive fire

HAMILTON, Ohio -- With everything he went through Friday, it'd be easy to forgive Greg Gibbs if he lost his sense of humor.

To start off, Gibbs said he found out somebody had ransacked his home. He'd been away for a few weeks visiting his parents, and he returned Friday afternoon with a friend to mow the lawn.

The sink's pipes were missing, he said, and so was the furnace. Gibbs went to the dark basement and flicked his lighter to get a better look.

That's when his bad day got worse: The house exploded.

"All you see in front of you is blue, blue, and that's all there was, was blue," he said.

 

Gibbs was blown back a few feet and said he didn't realize what had happened at first.

"I wake up, this side of the house had been blown off, that side of the house had been blown off," he said. "I jumped out my back door."

Marcus Baker, a neighbor, said he heard the blast, then people screaming. When Baker went outside, he saw the side of the house was blown out.

 

"I thought it was a gunshot," Baker said. "I thought somebody got shot, but I guess I was wrong."

Another neighbor, Emily Simpson, described the blast as sounding like a car crash.

"I ran over there and I saw a bunch of flames and smoke," she said. "It was really bad, and I ran up to it, and I could see this guy on the bottom floor."

Both Simpson and Fire Investigator Trevor Snider said Gibbs went back into the home after the explosion, trying to put out the flames.

Gibbs' friend hit her head on a wall; both were taken to a hospital as a precaution, fire officials said.

Returning to the pile of rubble where his home used to sit, Gibbs said he had sores, bumps and blisters.

"I am thankful my son is alive," his mom, Connie Gibbs, said. "The house could be replaced, but he can’t."

Greg Gibbs returned to what was left of his home Friday night. Photo by Ashley Zilka | WCPO

Plus, he's got a pretty gnarly hairdo.

"I was getting ready to get my hair cut today anyways, so that was next on the list there, so," he joked.

The Fairfield Township Fire Department and Liberty Township Fire Department joined Hamilton firefighters; they spent about an hour putting out flames.

None of the neighbors' homes was damaged.