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Suspect Charged In Connection With Gas Explosion At Dallas Apartment Complex

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas Police have filed charges in connection with the gas explosion at the Highland Hills Apartments late last month.

The explosion injured four firefighters and displaced around 300 residents.

The Dallas Police Department Assaults Unit obtained seven deadly conduct warrants for Phillip Dankins, 28.

Police said he was involved in a shooting at the complex and a round hit the gas line inside an apartment on Sept. 29.

RELATED: 'It Threw Me Back Up The Stairs': Dallas Apartment Residents Describe Moments During Explosion

Sources tell CBS 11 the mother of Dankins' child lived in the apartment where the explosion happened.

He had an altercation with her and then fired into apartment.

The bullet did enough damage to cause the leak, sources said.

Dallas Fire-Rescue investigators said they believe a bullet fired by Dankins penetrated the gas line of the apartment stove resulting in an accumulation of gas inside the unit.

Later that morning, while DFR was responding to the gas leak, it is believed that an unknown source ignited the highly concentrated gas fumes, resulting in the explosion.

Phillip Dankins
Phillip Dankins mugshot (Dallas County Jail)

Dankins was already in custody at the Dallas County Jail on a family violence warrant.

He is now charged with seven counts of deadly conduct for discharging a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

His bond is set at $100,000.

Dankins has an extensive criminal history, including aggravated robbery, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.

The blast happened at a 2-story complex in the 5700 block of Highland Hills Drive, between South Lancaster Road and I-45.

The location is just blocks from Dallas Fire Station 54 and near Paul Quinn College.

Debris from the explosion was blown onto other apartment buildings and a carport in a parking lot.

Two firefighters remain hospitalized in serious, but stable condition.

"Knowing now that it was a violent act, it definitely angers us," said Dallas Fire Fighters Association President Jim McDade.

McDade is a fellow firefighter and friend to the four firefighters who were injured in the explosion.

"Now knowing it's a random act of violence which we see every day in the City of Dallas, it affected the lives of firefighters and potentially could have killed four firefighters," he said.

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