Southside resident Robert Stevenson and his wife returned home from date night Saturday to find their quiet neighborhood transformed.
Houses were destroyed, and debris littered the streets. Windows were smashed out, and siding was ripped off.
People were out in the streets, and police were everywhere.
Robert Stevenson, a Vietnam era Navy veteran, said he had never seen so much destruction before, including during his years of military service.
The Stevensons felt it could have been divine intervention that they weren’t home when the explosion rocked their subdivision.
They normally go see a movie on Saturday night but decided they were too tired to catch the 7:30 showing. They decided instead to see the movie “Flight” at 10 p.m.
Had they gone to the earlier show, they almost certainly would have been home when a home on Fieldfare Way exploded, Stevenson said. Instead, they found out on the way home. Several nurses called his wife, who is a doctor, to check if she was OK.
When they returned, they first were told a plane had crashed. On the next street, a police officer told them it was a gas explosion.
“We kept hearing different things,” he said. “It’s a little unnerving that no one knows what happened. It’s unnerving that they still don’t know.”
They felt fortunate that their home suffered no major damage. The blast caused their garage door to buckle, but the home otherwise appeared to be fine, he said.
The Stevensons have been staying in a hotel and hope to return as soon as the city will allow, although their house still has no utility service, he said.