State & Federal Agencies Investigating Deadly Explosion and Fire in Lubbock

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house explosion 720 2900 block of 21st street

Lubbock Fire Rescue on Wednesday afternoon said local, state, and federal agencies are investigating the cause of an explosion and fire overnight that killed two people.

LFR said, “It is not believed to be criminal in nature.”

LFR was called to the 2900 block of 21st Street just before 10:00 pm Tuesday.

“During firefighting operations multiple explosions occurred on scene,” LFR said.

Lubbock Police said John Fleming, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Rodica Gelca, 45, was later pronounced dead at University Medical Center.  Gelca was listed by the Texas Tech University website as a mathematics instructor. 

Steve Holland with LFR said at the scene Tuesday evening that there was concern about possible hazardous material in the smoke, and he asked people to stay clear.  

Later LFR said it wanted to dispel rumors of chemicals in the air. 

LFR’s updated statement said, “Lubbock Fire Rescue HazMat team has been on scene monitoring the area and have not found any containment.”

Fleming was listed as a director of a company called E2Amm LLC, according to state records.  According to the website e2amm.com, the company was developing alternatives to petroleum fuel including some that involved ammonia.

The website listed Fleming as a consulting engineer to the company.

Related Story: Two Dead, Others Injured in Explosion at a Central Lubbock Home 

The following is a press release from Lubbock Fire Rescue: 

Lubbock Fire Rescue responded to 2910 21st street last night at approximately 9:54 PM for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival units found heavy fire issuing from the residence. During firefighting operations multiple explosions occurred on scene. A second alarm was initiated and a defensive fire operation was begun. Currently Lubbock Fire Marshal’s office along with other local, state, and federal agencies are investigating the cause of the fire. While the cause is still under investigation it is not believed to be criminal in nature and investigation will be ongoing for a few days.

Lubbock Fire Rescue wants to dispel any rumors of chemicals in the air in this area. Lubbock Fire Rescue HazMat team has been on scene monitoring the area and have not found any containment.

The home owner 72-year-old John Fleming was pronounced deceased at the hospital and a neighbor, who was attempting to help extinguish the fire, 45-year-old Rodica Gelca was pronounced deceased at the hospital. Two additional individuals who were injured and transported to the local hospital are expected to recover. Lubbock Fire Rescue had three firefighters injured while working to extinguish the fire. They were transported to the hospital, treated and have been released.

We will continue to update as more information is available. 

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