An explosion May 31 blew out an apartment wall at the Edgewater at Sandy Springs apartments.

By Amy Wenk

Investigators are searching for the cause of a “very powerful” explosion that blew out a wall of a Sandy Springs apartment and severely injured a resident.

Shortly after noon on May 31, an explosion damaged a first-floor unit of the Edgewater at Sandy Springs apartments in the 7600 block of Roswell Road.

A man was thrown from the building into the parking lot, police said. He sustained burns on his face and neck and was transported to the burn unit of Grady Memorial Hospital, Chief Deputy Fire Marshall Jeff Scarbrough said in a June 1 telephone interview.

“We are still in the midst of the investigation,” Scarbrough said.

He said it could take days or weeks before the investigation is concluded.

Lt. Steve Rose, spokesman for Sandy Springs Police, said “it looks like natural gas” caused the explosion.

Scarbrough said, “Neighbors told us they smelled the gas before the explosion” but that no cause was verified. Building inspectors searched the scene May 31 and June 1.

“It was a very violent explosion,” Scarbrough said. “The wall was knocked out … We have pieces of debris blown as far as 200 feet away. You can tell it was a very powerful explosion.”

Scarbrough had no update on the condition of the victim, whom police said was in his 30s. But he described the man’s injuries as “second-degree” burns and said damage could be severe.

“If he inhaled some of the fire, then he could have damaged his airways,” Scarbrough said.

Investigators next must interview the injured man, which Scarbrough said could be a challenge.

“He’s in the hospital and not in really good condition,” Scarbrough said. “Right now, he can’t even speak.”

[googleMap name=”The Edgewater at Sandy Springs” width=”450″ height=”350″ directions_to=”false”]7600 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30350[/googleMap]