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Soil Now At Center Of Year-Long Investigation Into Dallas Home Explosion

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The year-long search for answers to explain a gas explosion that killed a 12-year-old girl is taking on a new method in Dallas.

Drilling going on Tuesday in neighborhoods near Dallas Love Field that could become a key indicator of what caused the explosion that killed Linda Rogers.

This is the second of four sites the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take soil samples.

The drill rig is burrowing about 20 feet in an effort to answer the the question: Did shifting soil cause the natural gas explosion which Linda Rogers last February?

Drilling by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Dallas for soil testing
Drilling by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Dallas for soil testing (CBS 11)

The soil testing is part of the ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Atmos Energy had its engineers out here while the testing is going on.

The gas utility has argued that heavy rainfall, shifting soil and aging pipes were responsible for the blast that killed Rogers and destroyed her family's home on Espanola Drive.

People in the neighborhood had reported leaks and small fires before the explosion.

The Army Corps of Engineers says it's never had to dig in a residential area for something like this but confident it can find what the NTSB is looking for.

"The drill rig you're looking at today has the ability to go down about 200 feet," said Clay Church with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Normally our drill crews usually work around 100 feet deep. To get soil samples down to 20 feet, (we) don't normally drill through asphalt roads and things of that nature in a residential area, but we have a very experienced crew and they are going to be obtaining those samples."

The soil samples will be analyzed in a lab in Arlington.

If they can show that soil shifting played a role it could help the Atmos' argument that an act of nature not negligence caused the death of the young girl.

"The NTSB reached out to asked to do this type of work for them on this investigation and it's the first time I know of in about 20 years that we've been asked to do this," said Church.

The results of the soil testing could bring peace of mind to the Rosales family and others here who have been living on edge for more than a year without answers.

"Usually it's like this is a rundown neighborhood, the city would normally ignore it or throw it under the bus," said Vicente Rosales, who lives in the neighborhood. "I'm glad to see something's happening... I feel like this neighborhood could be a lot more safer than it has been."


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