Man dies instantly in garage explosion after he cut into a gas tank, police say

Investigators say the victim was cutting into a natural gas tank when the explosion happened. (Source: WOWT)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 3:33 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2023 at 12:51 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT/Gray News) – One man was killed in a garage explosion in Iowa on Tuesday after he cut into a compressed natural gas tank, police said.

Council Bluffs police confirmed the man was found dead at the scene. In a release Thursday, the Council Bluffs Fire Department identified him as 56-year-old Martin Desomma.

Officials said he was working in a detached garage at the home when the explosion happened.

Officials did not clarify if Desomma lived at the house or if he was a utility worker.

Police said nearby homes are safe, but neighbors as far as three blocks away felt the blast.

Anthony Savala was watching TV with his father when they heard a big explosion.

“And the house just literally felt like it was coming off the ground, it shook that bad,” Anthony said. “And then there was stuff falling off the wall in the bathroom. At first, I said to my dad it sounded like a bomb, then we thought it was upstairs because it was that close.”

Savala’s father, Sal Savala, went outside to investigate. He said he saw the explosion had littered debris across the block and blew the victim out onto the street.

“The house was gone, and all I seen was body parts. I didn’t know what to think, my emotions kicked in,” Sal Savala said. “I started crying when I seen what I seen. I never seen nothing like that before.”

An investigation is ongoing, but Desomma’s death is being considered an accident and no criminal activity is suspected, according to police.