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Hyde Park Home Explodes Near Menino's House

HYDE PARK (CBS) - A house exploded in Boston Wednesday morning, not far from Mayor Tom Menino's home.

It happened around 8:45 a.m. at the corner of Danny and Reynold Roads in the Readville section of Hyde Park, close to the Dedham border.

View: Hyde Park Explosion Slideshow

No one was hurt.  The two people who live there were gone at the time of the blast.

The home owner, Mike Burns, said he left for work at 6:45 a.m. and started to get phone calls about two hours later.

He couldn't believe what he saw when he returned home.

"I looked at it.  It still really hasn't hit me.  It's starting to," he said. "Everything's gone... everything," Burns said.  "(I) lived there nine years."  Burns said his partner was in California on business.

WBZ's Bill Shields reports from the scene

The neighborhood was evacuated as a precaution.  Residents were taken to St. Anne's Church.

"I thought it was a bomb," said Joanne Saunders, who lives nearby. "My whole house shook, and it felt like it lifted off the foundation, then fell down again."

Nearby at the BC Bakery, Jim Mariano's brick ovens were left with huge cracks, and it left him shaken. "I thought there was a plane crash, the whole building shook."

Menino said he was not in the area at the time of the explosion, but his wife was.  She described it as something "like an earthquake."

"Mike (Burns) has to rebuild his whole life and we'll be there to support him," Menino told reporters. "The city will help him out."

Raw Video: Explosion Aftermath

"It sounded like someone hit the house," a neighbor, Rich Lombardi, told WBZ-TV.  "(I) thought it was an earthquake."

Jean Richardson of Boston Water and Sewer said a private contractor was working for their department on pipes in the neighborhood and hit a gas line.

The Boston Fire Department told WBZ-TV's Bill Shields that when the crew hit the line, they pulled the gas meter away from the home, sending gas inside, sparking the blast.

Ordinarily a dig site is well marked before digging starts, precisely so that contractors will not accidentally hit and rupture gas or other sensitive lines underground.

Dig Safe confirms it was notified of work on Reynold Road, and NSTAR tells WBZ-TV that Reynold Road was marked for gas lines. But the hole dug by the contractor, DeFelice Corporation, runs from Reynold Road into Danny Road.

NSTAR says it did not mark Danny Road because Dig Safe was only contacted about work affecting Reynold Road.

The investigation has begun

There has been no comment yet from the contractor, DeFelice Corporation.

WBZ-TV has learned the DeFelice Corporation has been cited three times for dig safe violations since 2005 at work sites in Arlington, North Adams and Haverhill. The Haverhill citations was contested and dismissed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the state's Public Utilities Commission is now investigating the explosion.

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