Natural gas explosion blows out side of Matthews house

MATTHEWS, N.C. — A natural gas hot water heater exploded, blowing a hole through the side of a Matthews house, fire officials said.

Brent Rankin said he heard a big boom, waking him up Wednesday morning.

"I was sleeping about 7:30 a.m., heard explosion, neighbor was beating on the door, half the house was missing. You see what's left," Rankin said.

He rushed to check on his 2-year-old son and found him covered in sheet rock.

"The gas blew the whole wall up," Rankin said. "See where it's buckled? Blew master bedroom wall out and my son's room, he's 2 years old. It blew his whole wall apart -- it was lying across him."

Rankin said he's been working on the house for months and his family had just settled in after a recent inspection.

"The guy said we had a small leak nothing to worry about," Rankin said. That was less than a month ago."

Now firefighters think the cause was a natural gas explosion from a hot water heater.

Gas and power were shut off as a precaution.

Rankin is grateful no one was hurt and now must look to rebuilding.

"I just built this house," Rankin said. "Now we're back to rebuilding again, going to start it all going through it again."