Charlotte Fire releases preliminary cause of Ballantyne home explosion

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Credit: FOX 46 Charlotte

The Charlotte Fire Department released their preliminary findings Wednesday in a deadly home explosion that claimed a woman's life and severely injured her husband.

Investigators said the cause of the explosion was likely to be due to an interior gas leak. It's unclear what could have caused the leak, but officials said they believe it was an accidental natural gas leak. There is still an extended period of time investigators need to dive into the wreckage to find the exact location of where the leak occurred.  

Firefighters arrived at the scene in the 11000 block of James Jack Lane just before 2 p.m. after the neighborhood was rocked by the blast. Rania Karam, 58, was killed in the explosion that leveled the $1 million dollar home. It took seven hours for firefighters to free her from the structure.

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Her husband, Dr. Jebran Karam, managed to call 911 while buried deep underneath debris. He was found alive in what is believed to be in rear of the house in what was once a stairwell, officials said.

Police: Survivor in Ballantyne house explosion 'has no idea what happened'

Karam was able to communicate with first responders during the entire incident and he was able to give direction on where his wife might be located. The couple was about 50-60 feet away from each other when the house exploded. He told firefighters that there was an odor in the home prior to the blast.

Officials cautioned homeowners that if they smell gas or propane to get out of the house and call 9-1-1.

Neighbors across the area told FOX 46 that the explosion was felt for miles. 

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Some even had residual damage in their homes, with roofs broke open, cracked walls, broken lighting and items thrown off of countertops. 

Windows and screen doors weren't strong enough to hold their place against the force of the explosion. The Ballantyne community will be feeling the damage left by the blast for some time.