CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A woman was found dead and a man was rescued after a house in south Charlotte was reduced to rubble by an explosion.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have identified the woman killed as 58-year-old Rania Karam.
Firefighters arrived at the scene in the 11000 block of James Jack Lane just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2 after the neighborhood was rocked by the blast. The first responders were met with a chaotic scene.
The 6,500 square foot home was completely leveled. Insulation, dust and debris was seen for miles as emergency crews tried to clear as much as they could.
A man, later identified as Dr. Jebran Karam made a call to 911 Tuesday afternoon. Turns out, he was buried deep underneath the debris. He was rescued around 4:30 p.m. For firefighters, it was a miraculous moment.
A helicopter landed on the golf course at the Ballantyne Country Club and more than a dozen firefighters were seen taking Karam over to it. He was airlifted to the ER. It was reported that he was awake and alert at the time of the rescue.
Karam is a nursing supervisor at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, WV.
After several more hours of searching, officials announced that they had found the body of a woman around 9 p.m. A source told FOX 46 the woman was Karam’s wife.
Officials say the search went slower because they had to be sure the area was stable in able to avoid another collapse. They were hoping to avoid injuring anyone trapped inside, which meant they had to be methodical in their removal of debris.
Charlotte Fire said they were using specialized listening equipment and confined space cameras to search for survivors. No heavy machinery was used.
They searched through the rubble all day, and seven of them had to be treated for dehydration as they worked in the sweltering heat. The community came out to support them as best as they could through the difficult procedure, bringing food and water as they worked.
Neighbors across the area told FOX 46 that the explosion was felt for miles.
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.
Statement released on Wednesday from Piedmont Natural Gas:
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life. Our condolences and prayers are with those who are injured and who’ve lost a loved one.
Yesterday, our technicians tested and checked the Piedmont natural gas lines in the area, and no natural gas leaks on our lines were detected. We’ve determined the Piedmont natural gas pipelines in this area are operating safely. In an update last night, the fire department confirmed the area is safe.
Piedmont Natural Gas is committed to assisting and cooperating fully with the fire department and other agencies investigating this tragedy. The safety of this community continues to be our highest priority."