I sped out to Dracut at 5:32 p.m., as I mentioned on twitter, when police and firefighters were called to 80 Springdale Road for a report that a vehicle struck a building, and that the smell of natural gas was in the air.
Police arrived, discovered a gas leak, and evacuated Oun and Mean Choun, their 7-year-old daughter, two 9-year-old nieces and a 3-year-old nephew they were babysitting.
Oun Choun said she was watching a movie with her husband while the kids were running around and playing.
“We heard something hit, like an earthquake, with cracking,” Oun Choun said. She said the children jumped and screamed.
The Chouns went outside to find their neighbor’s car smashed backward into the home, with a roughly 3-foot hole in the cinderblocks of the foundation.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Oun Choun. “Kids were playing outside a few hours ago. I’m glad it happened once they came in.”
Police told me tonight that the accident occurred while a 16-year-old neighbor girl was getting her first driving lesson from her mother. It “went horribly wrong,” police said.
No charges have been filed so far, but police continue to investigate exactly how this happened.
Firefighters got the gas shut off by 5:44 p.m., according to radio broadcasts.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Ralls told me there will be no heat or hot water in the home tonight since the gas line was damaged, but that the structural damage wasn’t so bad that the family stay in the home tonight. A building inspector will conduct a further inspection in the morning.
I feel for the poor girl who was driving. I hope she learns from this and becomes a better driver as a result. In the long run, it might be a good thing if one more teenage driver actually understands just how quickly things can go wrong while you’re driving.