GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 25, 2009

'I've never seen anything like that'

Neighbors spring into action after blast

Resident 'critical' in Eastern Ave. explosion; nearby gas leak found

VIDEO: Charlie Foster talks about what happened moments after the explosion 

VIDEO: Neighbors have been complaining since Dec. 26, 2008 of gas fumes in the area

Click here to watch raw footage of the aftermath

Click here to view a photo slideshow of rescue workers during the aftermath

 When an explosion in Wayne Sargent’s house rocked the Sunday morning calm of a tight Eastern Avenue neighborhood yesterday, one neighbor, especially, leapt into action.

Charlie and Marilyn Foster, who live nearby on Elizabeth Road, heard the explosion, which rattled doors, walls and windows as far as a quarter-mile away.

"We thought something happened to our house the blast was so bad," said Marilyn Foster, who is Wayne Sargent's second cousin. "We ran to the window and saw it was Wayne's house," she said. "There was nothing left of it."

The Fosters were getting ready to go to Beverly Hospital to visit their new grandson, Will Aaron.

"(Charlie) had on his white dress shirt and he just ran out of the house and across the street. He got up close to the house, and at that point the house was just crushed.

"There was a little bit of smoke, no big fire yet," Marilyn Foster recounted. "I'm watching through the window and he's hollering is anybody in there and (Wayne) said 'I'm in here.' So Charlie climbed in and found Wayne in the debris that came down into the basement.

"(Sargent) was trapped in there," she related. She said Sargent told her husband he thought he smelled something funny and he went to the basement to see what it was. Then the explosion happened.

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