13-Year-Old Girl Dies In House Explosion

FOLLANSBEE – A 13-year-old girl was killed and three others were injured Friday when a home on Eldersville Road exploded.

An assistant state fire marshal and representatives of Mountaineer Gas and the state Public Service Commission on Friday afternoon were at the scene of the natural gas explosion at 2485 Eldersville Road.

The home was owned by George Mozingo, who was flown by medical helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment of burns he sustained in the blast, while his wife, Tracy, and daughter, Hailie, were transported to Trinity Medical Center.

Another daughter, Hannah, didn’t escape the blast. A third child, Tyler, wasn’t home when it occurred.

Ronald Ayersman, assistant state fire marshal, said the site of the blast was being investigated to determine the source of a natural gas leak that spurred it.

Jim Pannett, the Mozingos’ next-door neighbor, said shortly before the explosion, he smelled gas outside his home and called 911. He said members of the Hooverson Heights Fire Department responded, using equipment to test the area for gas.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said the volunteer firefighters didn’t find a source and left for the substation to report the odor to utility officials.

Within minutes of their departure, the explosion occurred at about 7:07 a.m.

Jackson couldn’t confirm reports that a natural gas odor also had been reported earlier this week.

Josh Riggs, who lives on nearby Woodvue Lane, said he awoke to “a huge flash.”

“It shook the house,” he said. “I thought a transformer had blown in front of my house.”

As he approached the site, he saw fire rising high from the scene and heard smaller explosions, he said.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. It was just unbelievable,” Riggs said.

The blast shattered the windows of several homes in the vicinity, as well as the fire department’s substation. Shards of wood, glass and other material lay across the road and in neighbor’s yards. Pieces of insulation were blown into treetops high above the area.

Jeannie Moninger, who lives across the street, reflected on the explosion as she sat in her living room not far from her front door, which was blown off its hinges. A window above her bed was blown out. Throughout her house pictures and other objects lay on the floor, blown from the walls.

“It even blew out the back of my commode. I had to ask someone to shut off the water,” Moninger said. “I’m just a little shook up. It happened so fast. I thought the house was on fire.”