Firefighters on scene more than an hour before explosion at Heather Gardens

AURORA, Colo. -- Residents are wondering what was being done in the time between when first responders arrived on scene at Heather Gardens for reports of a gas leak, and the explosion that claimed the life of an elderly woman in that community.

The Problem Solvers asked questions of the Aurora Fire Department and Excel Energy to establish a timeline of the events.

Scanner traffic indicates firefighters were on scene for the leak around 4:11 p.m. Around 4:45 p.m. first responders start asking where Xcel Energy was.

"An extended ETA needs to be upgraded. We're in the middle of a residential complex. An extended ETA is unacceptable," said one firefighter on scene over the scanner.

An Xcel Energy spokespersons ays they received a note about the leak at 4:23. They arrived on scene at 4:52. That spokesperson says they believe that's a "fairly quick response time," considering the location and traffic at that time of day. Xcel Energy says their priority was trying to turn off the gas, and locating the leak.

Scanner traffic indicates the explosion happened around 5:30 p.m.

Residents like Gary Moss, who lives right next to the buildings impacted by the explosion, says he noticed fire trucks outside around 4:20 p.m. and then went back inside. No one came to his door to tell him to leave.

"About an hour later is when I felt the explosion, and like I said it felt like someone hit the back of the house," Moss said. "I just don’t know why they didn’t shut the gas off during that hour."

The Problem Solvers asked Aurora Fire Rescue what their process and procedure was in the time they arrived on scene. Below is their statement:

"This is truly a tragedy for the Aurora community. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the individuals and families impacted. Please know and be assured that our personnel took deliberate and immediate action to ensure that the safety of our residents was a top priority. 

Aurora Fire Rescue will continue our thorough investigation that began less than 72 hours ago. This investigation will include identifying casual factors of the precipitating event, examination of the physical evidence of the explosion site, review of firefighter/witness statements, developing a concise timeline, and assessing the efficacy/adherence to operating procedures. Although it is time consuming, it is important that we look at all of the components in totality to truly determine what occurred. We thank you for your patience as we gather and analyze the information." 

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