Vigil held for girl killed in explosion as NTSB begins investigation

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A federal investigation is underway into the explosion that killed a 12-year-old Dallas girl.

Linda Michelle Rogers died Friday when her family’s home on Espanola Drive in northwest Dallas exploded because of a natural gas leak.

Linda was remembered at a vigil Sunday night at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center in Downtown Dallas. Friends called her Michellita. Her cheerleading squad continued on and performed in her honor. Her parents were there and thanked the squad for their kindness.

Hours earlier, the Rogers family revisited what remains of their home and sifted through the debris once again. They, alongside their attorney, removed their late daughter’s Bible and stuffed animals.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived and got their inspection underway.

“We don't want any community to go through the tragedy like you guys have again. That's our goal,” said NTSB Investigator-in-Charge Ravi Chhatre.

The NTSB will consider circumstances that led up to it the explosion. It’ll also consider two other gas-related fires that happened in the neighborhood last week.

A full investigation could take months. But when it is complete, the agency will produce a report which could recommend changes to state and federal regulations.

FOX 4 asked the Chhatre why the agency chose this home explosion to investigate, versus so many others that happen across the country. He did not list specific reasons but said simply that Congress gives it the authority to investigate pipeline accidents in which there is a fatality or serious damage. It's all an effort to improve safety.

Atmos Energy also worked through the weekend to replace two miles of natural gas piping in the area. Workers were still in the neighborhood Monday morning and some residents said they are still without natural gas.

There was another scare Sunday. A natural gas leak was reported just four blocks from the Rogers family home. All 90 units in an apartment complex were evacuated, as well as a liquor store.

“So I came home and the police came and they told us to evacuate the building because there was a gas leak,” said resident Nathalie Gonzales. “Of course everybody wants them to check it out because we don't want to be like that girl in that house.”

About 300 homes in the area have been affected by the investigation and Atmos repairs. There’s no word yet on when all the work will be complete.