NFL player’s father killed in Mooresville home explosion

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The father of Tennessee Titans Cornerback Caleb Farley died Tuesday morning after an explosion leveled Farley’s house near Lake Norman in Mooresville.

Another person was hurt.

The explosion happened at the multi-million-dollar home around 12 a.m. on Barber Loop Road near Old Arborway Road. Investigators believe it was an accident.

A news release from emergency management said that first responders were called to the home after someone reported an explosion.

Robert Farley was later found dead in the debris. Caleb Farley, a Maiden native, wasn’t at the home he bought for his dad when it blew up.

First responders found Christian Rogers, who was “exiting the house.” He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Virginia Tech Coach Brent Pry released a statement regarding the tragedy saying:

“Our hearts are with Caleb Farley and his family. Words cannot express the sorrow we feel. Hokie Nation stands behind him with our full support during this extremely difficult time.”

The investigation

Local and federal investigators are trying to figure out the cause of the explosion.

Investigators believe it was an accident that started in a bedroom and they are focused on a natural gas pipeline.

Iredell County emergency officials think gas accumulated over a long period of time and found its way to an ignition source.

An expert provided ABC News with some insight into what the investigation would look like.

“They will try to first identify the fuel for the explosion and then they’ll try to identify the source,” Richard Meier, fire and explosion investigator and analyst with Meier Fire Investigation. “Did it come from a leak in the pipe? Did it come from a leak in the appliance? Did it come from a leak in the gas main outside? Everything from clicking a light switch to static electricity. It takes an incredibly small amount of energy to ignite a flammable gas.”

Dominion Energy, which serves the home, said in a statement to Channel 9 that it had representatives among the first responders who showed up after the explosion.

“We continue working in coordination with emergency personnel on this ongoing investigation,” Dominion Energy said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened at the tragic loss of life. Our hearts go out to the family impacted by this event.”

‘Total shock’

Erica Shields, who lives around the block, said she felt the blast.

“This wasn’t a small explosion,” Shields told Channel 9. “The whole thing is just gone, and it was just standing there not too long ago and now it’s gone.”

Shields went to see which house it was after work. She didn’t know it was the home where she said her friend, Rogers, was staying.

“I’m in total shock and disbelief and I’m trying not to cry to find out that it was his house,” Shields said.

Richards walked out alive.

“An angel on his shoulder watching over him,” she said.

Rogers was alert and talking Tuesday night.

Neighbors told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon that the sight of what’s left of the home is unimaginable.

“I heard a loud explosion and almost a collapsing sound, a big crunching sound,” said Pete Schuerger, who lives six houses away. “I turned to my wife and said that sounded like a house exploding.”

Schuerger says the whole house shook, and he felt the air get “sucked out.” He said he was stunned when he walked down the street. He said the whole incident happened in an instant.

“You could be sitting in your house in one minute and it’s gone,” he said.

Neighbors say the family had only lived here for about a year. People remember their faces but didn’t know them well. Still, some neighbors brought family members cold drinks and warm words.

“It’s horrible; I mean, it’s nothing left, it’s gone,” said Mike Rinehart, a neighbor.

Rinehart said he and his wife want the family to know they’re in their prayers.

Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel addressed the incident after a practice Tuesday afternoon, expressing his condolences for Caleb Farley’s family.

This is a developing story; check wsoctv.com for updates.

VIDEO: State investigated safety concerns at Anson County plant before explosion

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

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