Franklin officials consider emergency shower options after 75 units left without hot water following explosion

franklin explosion
Posted at 12:15 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 07:54:49-04

FRANKLIN, Va. - A propane explosion at a duplex left two people critically injured Friday night.

The explosion occurred in the 600 block of Campbell Avenue in Franklin.

News 3 met with Franklin City Manager Amanda Jarratt Monday morning. She tells us that inspectors are currently on the scene, working to secure not only the house that exploded but also to make sure the property is safe for every resident of Berkley Court.

Jarratt says an inspection of gas distribution lines has to be done before the gas can be turned back on. This means residents may have to wait a bit longer before they can take a hot shower.

"There are 75 units, 70 are occupied. It's a blend of older individuals and families, so before the propane is turned back on, the City of Franklin wants to ensure that it's safe," Jarratt says.

The blast heard across Southampton County still lives in the forefront of the minds of nearby residents, who are going on day three of no hot water.

The city says the explosion was caused by propane gas, which is used to heat the water of every property within this subsidized housing community.

News 3 has learned the property is managed by the Severn Companies, which is based out of Maryland. We reached out for comment on the explosion, however, they would not speak with us.

Jarratt says a company called VCDC Group owns the property, and she is working to get in contact with them.

In our latest check-in at 5 p.m., Jarratt says people from Severn are officially in Franklin and are assessing the situation. She doesn't expect anyone will be at the property tonight due to the inclement weather.

Jarratt says she met with Severn Monday afternoon and laid out an action plan for them, including how they plan to get hot water to residents and get a company out to inspect the gas lines. She has another meeting with Severn at noon Tuesday and will have more updates then.

Jarratt says she is considering putting emergency shower units in the community to avoid a public health issue.

As of Monday morning, debris that could be seen around the area of the explosion was starting to be picked up by crews.

Related: 'What are going to do without hot water'; Neighbors impacted by explosion in Franklin