- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Blame the dog.

That’s the conclusion fire investigators have reached regarding Wednesday’s gas explosion at a home in Gulfport.

Luckily no one was home at the time, and the family’s four dogs were all safely removed, but the blast left part of the house in ruins.

Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt tells WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/20Y9AlA ) that a puppy’s collar somehow got hooked on a gas valve in the laundry room. The valve opened. Gas leaked out, seeped into a vent, and flowed into the attic. Once trapped there, investigators believe either the furnace or the water heater kicked on. One of those units became the ignition source, creating an explosion that blew a hole into the house.

Investigators said that gas valve is the same height as the puppy’s collar. Beyerstedt said a dryer used to be connected to the valve but the owners replaced it with an electric appliance.

Until Wednesday’s mishap, the valve was in the off position.

Resident Laporsha Simmons and her three children were away from the home when the explosion occurred. Firefighters safely removed four dogs that were in the house at the time of the explosion.

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Information from: WLOX-TV, http://www.wlox.com

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