A 12-year-old smelled a strange odor in the garage weeks before a massive explosion destroyed her family’s home and left two dead.
The attorney who represents the girl’s mother, Monserrate Shirley, said the girl occasionally smelled the odor when she got out of the car in an attached garage of their Fieldfare Way home. Attorney Randall Cable said the girl was the only one in the house who smelled it, so they never called anyone or had the odor checked out.
“She smelled an odd smell that they speculated could have been gas,” he said. “But they didn’t smell it, and there wasn’t enough to do anything about it.”
Shirley, her daughter and Shirley’s boyfriend Mark Leonard all lived together at 8349 Fieldfare Way in the Richmond Hill neighborhood. None were home when a devastating explosion late Saturday night killed the neighbors next door and caused an estimated $3.6 million worth of damage to 80 homes.
Investigators believe natural gas caused the explosion and are focusing on whether there was a leak inside any of the most damaged homes, such as from a valve or appliance.
Shirley and Leonard also had a problem where their furnace shut off a few weeks ago, Cable said.
But they had the thermostat repaired, and the heat was working when they left to go to a casino in the Cincinnati area the weekend of the devastating blast, he said.
In recent weeks, Cable said the girl intermittently smelled a gas-like smell but that it wasn’t heavy or strong.
No one else could smell the odor when the girl brought it up, he said.
Leonard has had health issues that would affect his senses and potentially make him less likely to detect an odor, but it was too faint for either of the adults to notice, Cable said.
Cable said he didn’t know if the odor the girl smelled was near any particular appliances because he didn’t know the layout of their home.