Fire Marshal: Gas leak to blame for deadly Medina explosion

MEDINA, Ohio -- A natural gas leak is to blame for a deadly explosion at a Medina apartment complex that killed a mother and son. The father of the boy, who had special needs, was seriously injured.

"It wasn't a surprise that it was a gas explosion," said resident Felisha Barton.

The State Fire Marshal confirmed Tuesday what many residents of the Medina Village Apartments suspected from the beginning: Investigators say a natural gas leak caused the explosion that killed 18-year-old Jacob Drake, who was confined to a wheelchair, and his mother Sheila February 9.

The boy's father remains in the hospital.

"The boy went to school with my daughter, so it's a tragedy," said resident Amanda Bernard.

"It was just one of those things that, you know, it happened, so like I said, they're working really hard to get everything taken care of and get all the issues that people are having in a timely manner," said Barton.

A week later, firefighters, Columbia Gas workers, and apartment maintenance crews inspected more than 140 apartments in the complex.

They discovered more than 60 small leaks. Columbia Gas says the leaks were from inside the units, not from their lines that feed the buildings.

"They did check our apartment and we did have a couple issues that they took care of the very next day, and Columbia Gas made sure that we were all good and we were able to turn our stuff back on," said Barton.

"I was uneasy about the first few days 'cause I didn't know if we were leaking gas or not. I was uneasy, but they got it taken care of and turned off the gas," said her daughter, Jessie Barton.

"Appliances have been changed, they bought new appliances for several apartments, not for mine, it was alright, but everything is alright," said Bernard.

Residents we spoke to say they are living more at ease after the inspections were done.

"I still like living here, I mean, they try, they do their best...it's a lot of buildings and a lot of people to take care of," said Barton.

The State Fire Marshal says this is not the final report, but they can say the incident was connected to natural gas.

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