It could be weeks before fire investigators know what caused a house to explode Sunday in Blairsville, killing two people.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office today identified the deceased couple as Ralph Norris Wood, Jr., 78, and Peggy Wood, 77. They died in the blast at their home at 307 Pauline Lane.
The 1,594 square-foot structure was completely destroyed.
“This unprecedented blast left several homes in the area damaged,” says State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King. “Due to the severity of the explosion, it could be up to several weeks before the cause is determined.”
Residents in the area of Murphy Highway and Pauline Lane said they heard and felt the explosion around 8 a.m. Sunday, May 2. Immediately after, smoke could be seen billowing above Lake Nottely. People in the area reported debris falling from the sky, North Georgia News reports.
The blast was heard across Union County, in neighboring Towns County, and in Cherokee County, North Carolina. Some people reported feeling it as far as 25 miles away.
A house just exploded about 600 yards from my house. Couldn’t tell where the explosion came from at first. Then saw some smoke. Jumped in the car called 911 and tried to get to it. The gas tank was still spewing flames and there was no house left.
— Jeremiah Passmore 🐨 (@JeremiahPassmo1) May 2, 2021
Officials transported the victims’ bodies to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab in Atlanta for autopsy.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.