“When turkey fryers attack!”
Despite this joking YouTube comment, this event is no laughing matter.
A Thanksgiving gathering took a tragic turn when a Dallas man suffered severe burns over 80 percent of his body following an explosion at a residence on Wofford Drive. The incident, which occurred on Thursday, Nov. 23, is currently under investigation by Dallas Fire-Rescue officials.
The explosion originated in a detached guesthouse located behind a Southeast Dallas home. Vanessa Escobar, the homeowner, along with eight family members, was inside the main house engaged in Thanksgiving cooking when they heard a sudden boom.
“We were in the kitchen cooking, and we just heard a boom,” recounted Escobar.
The blast, which transpired just before 5:30 p.m., resulted in significant damage to the guesthouse, where 34-year-old Francisco Gorostieta had been residing for the past two years. Gorostieta, who does flooring work for Escobar’s family, was inside the guesthouse at the time of the explosion.
Escobar vividly described the aftermath, stating, “I went to the back of the house, and everything blew up.”
Gorostieta, who suffered second-degree burns on 80 percent of his body, was immediately transported to Parkland Hospital. Escobar expressed concern for his well-being, emphasizing that he seemed disoriented and didn’t fully comprehend the extent of the explosion.
“He didn’t even realize the house had exploded. He doesn’t know anything; he doesn’t really remember the moment,” said Escobar.
In response to the incident, Atmos Energy, at the request of Dallas Fire-Rescue, dispatched highly-trained technicians to inspect gas lines leading to the property. The gas company issued a statement indicating that their investigation found no evidence of their system’s involvement in the explosion.
“Our investigation confirmed our system is operating normally. We have found no evidence that our system was involved,” stated Atmos Energy.
The force of the blast was so intense that it shattered windows in neighboring homes, leaving nearby residents dealing with property damage. Michael Polk, a neighbor, expressed the impact on his residence, noting, “A lot of stuff fell off the walls; my TV fell off the wall.”
As investigators work to determine the cause of the explosion, both Escobar’s family and Polk find themselves displaced. Escobar, with homeowner’s insurance in place, faces the uncertainty of the time required to repair the extensive damage to her living room and kitchen caused by the explosion.
Some Youtubers are convinced there was foul play involved: “That sounds crazy, but I wouldn’t doubt it was on purpose. The gas company already checked it out, and everything seemed I ordered, and the ladies said that the poor man had no family. Mr. Francisco sounds like collateral damage to me for those two ladies. One way to make money out of it.”
While the investigation is ongoing, the focus remains on Francisco Gorostieta’s recovery. Escobar, acknowledging that he has no family in the area, expressed the severity of his condition, stating, “He’s terrible. He’s bad, really bad.”
The road to recovery for Gorostieta, who is currently lucid and able to speak, is expected to be lengthy. As the fire marshal continues their investigation, the community awaits answers regarding the circumstances surrounding the Thanksgiving explosion on Wofford Drive.