Woman killed in Phoenix house explosion identified

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: Phoenix FD) (Source: Phoenix FD)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A gas leak, explosion and huge fire at a Phoenix home left one person dead and two seriously injured.

Police on Friday identified the victim as Anita Johnson, 73. Two men -- a 57-year-old and a 23-year-old -- are recovering from serious but not life-threatening injuries. Their names have not been released.

It happened Thursday just before 10 a.m. near 11th Avenue and Fillmore Street.

[RAW VIDEO: Our chopper flies over house fire after gas leak, explosion]

The home was leveled, and the flames spread to a house next door.

"When our crews got here, they found a home that was nearly completely destroyed. A very large burning active fire," said Phoenix fire Capt. Jake Van Hook. "They didn't know it at the time but it was being driven by gas that had broken or had some involvement in the explosion and the fire."

Neighbors say they felt the explosion.

"Well, I was in my kitchen and I heard a blast; a big concussion in my house," said neighbor James McCoy. "And I ran outside, and in the house, I could see fire and smoke like the whole house had blown up."

[RAW VIDEO: Phoenix firefighters battle flames after explosion, fire]

Those who know the homeowner say a church group was gifting her a new stove. A Spencer's TV & Appliance truck was parked out front making the delivery when something went terribly wrong. 

Police said Johnson, a volunteer for a local charity, was the one who arranged the delivery and installation of the stove; the two men were doing the work.

"Witnesses report that the men were taking a propane tank out of the home when there was an explosion," Sgt. Jonathan Howard said Friday.  

The grandmother and children who lived at the home are all accounted for. They were not home at the time of the explosion.

According to the Phoenix Fire Department, "Phoenix HazMat Crews worked with Southwest Gas crews from the early parts of this incident and did not find any migrating gas. Firefighters did find a large propane tank on the property. Southwest Gas reported to HazMat teams that they have not provided service to this address for several years."

Southwest Gas released the following statement:

“Our hearts go out to those touched by today’s incident. Safety is always a top priority at Southwest Gas and as a result of our extensive investigation in the areas that we have been granted access to, we have not found any gas reads in the area and at this time we have no information suggesting natural gas played a role in the incident.  We also appreciate the Fire Department's swift response and collaboration with us during this investigation.”

Phoenix Fire says investigators will continue to work to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

Spencer’s TV and Appliance General Manager Roy Hannah released this statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place today. At this point, we don’t have a complete picture as to how everything took place. We are praying for everybody involved and our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost a loved one today."

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