THORNTON, Colo. — A day after a massive house explosion in Thornton, the coroner is still working to identify the body of a man found in the debris and several neighbors are still unable to enter their homes Friday night.
Look around the neighorhood and you’ll find plenty of reasons why people could be upset. The reasons are strewn all over lawns.
“This is a piece of roofing that came over here from Monroe (Street),” said Linda Bannister, who shares a backyard with the house that exploded.
Bannister can no longer live in her house. A red sign outside indicates that it is structurally unsound and there are giant cracks in her home that reinforce that determination.
Yet Bannister says she and her husband are far from upset.
“We have been feeling very grateful for the past 24 hours,” Bannister said.
She says she is grateful for her patio door.
“I was sitting only three or four feet away from it inside the house when it happened,” she said.
The explosion shattered all the glass on the outer pane of the door. She can only imagine what would have happened if it also shattered the inside pane.
“I’m sure I would have been hit by a ton of glass and wouldn’t be standing here right now,” Bannister said.
It’s also easy to be grateful when she looks through her backyard. Her neighbors lost everything, including a long time friend who lived in the basement of the house. Investigators believe he is the one they found under piles of debris Friday morning.
“We had thousands of pounds on top of this,” said Thornton Fire Chief John Staley, referring to the area where the body was found. “We had to dig it out with back hoes and of course by hand.”
Fire, police and even ATF investigators will still likely take days to determine the cause of the blast.
“We’re assuming that there was some type of gas explosion but what precipitated that?” Staley said.
As the investigation continues there are lingering concerns about asbestos due to the age of the house. Crews went through a decontamination tent after their shifts on Friday and others worked to sweep the road. They are encouraging neighbors to wash clothes and rinse off their sidewalks until they can learn more from asbestos testing.
“That’s news to me but I guess I’ll get my hose out,” said Stephen Bistram, who lives across he street.
The Bistram family isn’t complaining. Stephen and his wife still have a livable home, and they say they are also very grateful that their two boys are OK. They were home alone during the blast.
RAW VIDEO: Explosion rocks Thornton neighborhood