Pasco home explosion caused by improper fueling of generator

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A home explosion that killed 13 dogs and destroyed two houses in Port Richey was caused by improper fueling of a generator, firefighters said Monday.

Pasco County firefighters responded to a report of the explosion just after 7 p.m. in the 8000 block of Velvet Drive Sunday. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found two homes heavily involved in fire.

Investigators told FOX 13 both homes involved, 8705 and 8711 Velvet Drive, had no power and were sharing a generator at the same time. The man living in 8705 was refueling it while it was in his garage when the explosion happened.

"All of a sudden we heard a big bang and we thought somebody hit our house," said James Owens, who lives across the street, adding he watched his neighbor run out of the burning home in obvious pain. "He ran over to the tree over there, fell down on his knees and his hands. He was asking to be put out with water. He was crying for his dogs."

The man suffered burns over 40 percent of his both and a dozen of his dogs were killed. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. A thirteenth dog died in the home next door.

The woman living on the other side of the home described a similar experience and said she worried the flames would spread to her house.

"I was in my bedroom, which is in the front of the house and a big explosion shook the house. I thought somebody had hit the house with their vehicle," said Kendra de la Garza. "We took the dogs and our purses and ran out the door and we moved the truck so that it wouldn't catch on fire because we thought it would be coming that way."

Both homes have been deemed uninhabitable, according to officials.
He received burns over 40 percent of his body. He remains in critical condition at a local hospital. The victim’s identity has not been released.

No other homes were in danger and there were no other reported injuries. The Red Cross is assisting the family at 8711 Velvet Drive.