Gypsum explosion

A second home (back) was damaged in the aftermath of a gas leak that caused a house explosion Thursday in Gypsum.

Nearly every agency between Aspen and Carbondale responded to a request for mutual aid from Gypsum after a gas leak led to a house explosion, which damaged at least one additional home.

It was unclear Thursday evening if the home was vacant at the time of the incident or if there were injuries.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office evacuated neighborhoods in the Chatfield Corners area. The elementary and middle schools were also evacuated, according to an Eagle County Schools Facebook update posted Thursday afternoon.

“The students and staff of Red Hill Elementary School and Gypsum Creek Middle School are safe and not in danger due to the gas leak that’s being addressed in Chatfield Corners,” it assured. “However, both schools have evacuated students to be outside of the facilities, and we’re requesting that parents that can come and pick up their children do so.”

Aspen Fire Protection District Chief Rick Balentine was on scene in Gypsum Thursday, though he noted that since he was there in a mutual aid capacity and not incident command, he could not comment in an official capacity.

“My command vehicle and myself and this group of engines, we’re covering the rest of the world right now — if they get a call on anything outside of this incident,” he said, noting that all local resources were dedicated to the gas leak.

In addition to AFPD, the Aspen Ambulance District, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority and Carbondale Fire Protection District all sent resources to the region to assist.

“What I understood from the incident is there was a utility crew doing construction and hit a gas line, and it sounds like it filled several houses full of natural gas,” RFFR Chief Scott Thompson said Thursday. “And the one, unfortunately, exploded.”

The on-duty Gypsum Fire Protection District deputy was not immediately available for comment Thursday evening, but Eagle County hosted a community update at 7 p.m. at the Eagle County Valley High School football field, a venue with space enough for social distancing. Evacuees had been directed to report to the Lundgren Amphitheater Lawn next to the Gypsum Recreation Center.

Megan Tackett is a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at megan@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @MeganTackett10.