Heather Gardens seniors take safety into their own hands after deadly gas explosion in Aurora

Another gas leak reported over the weekend
Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 26, 2018

AURORA, Colo. -- More than a week after a deadly home explosion at an Aurora senior living community that took the life of beloved resident Carol Ross, homeowners want to know they're safe and that another blast won't happen again. 

The explosion shook the Heather Gardens community Nov. 16 after a gas leak was reported at the senior living community located off Yale Ave. and Abilene St. in Aurora. 

"We need to stick together on this," longtime resident Rita Crompton told the crowd Monday morning, as dozens of concerned seniors packed a nearby hotel to demand accountability and take safety into their own hands after another reported gas leak at the complex over the weekend of which few were made aware.

"There was a leak on Tuesday, leak on Wednesday, leak on Friday and then the explosion. There was another gas leak yesterday," explained Crompton. "How many heard about it?" she asked. "Nobody, " she said after very few people raised their hands.

Crompton said she is determined to change that, and used Monday's meeting to gather email addresses and phone numbers so she can better alert residents through a private email list.

She also urged everyone to get on Nextdoor to stay up to date.

"It's one thing if they decide to stay. It's another thing when they didn't know," said Crompton.

Linda Champ lives across the street from where the explosion happened.

She said no one was evacuated until after the blast even though radio traffic shows Aurora firefighters were on scene more than an hour before and found a gas leak.

"Fire man knocked on our door and said there's a gas leak, which obviously, we can smell it. He just said kind of stick around," explained Champ.

Aurora fire said the investigation into exactly what caused the blast is still weeks, if not months, from being completed.

Residents also expressed a lot of anger towards Comcast. The cable company, through a third-party contractor, had been installing new fiber optic lines in the community.

While it's not clear if that is what caused the explosion, Xcel Energy said the gas leak was caused by a contractor doing work for someone else.

"Comcast created this mess. Comcast needs to fix this mess. And they'd go a long way by at least making people feel that they are at least are trying to accomplish by giving us services at no cost," Crompton said during Monday's meeting.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has already ordered all underground work to stop until they determine what happened, but that didn't stop another gas leak from occurring on Sunday.  

Aurora fire said the leak happened early Sunday morning and lead to crews turning off the broiler in one of the four-story buildings.

"You've got to pay attention. You have to look out for each other. You've got to speak up and that's the way to keep each other safe," said Crompton.

"We want to let the Heather Gardens community our thoughts are with them after the tragic events that occurred on Friday, Nov. 16th. The public’s safety is our first priority, and there are still a lot of questions about this incident," said Comcast spokeswoman Leslie Oliver in an email to Denver7.  "The investigation work is still ongoing, and we are continue working with authorities to understand what happened."