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2 critically burned when suburban Phoenix house explodes

(KTAR Photo/Aaron Granillo)

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Authorities believe a natural gas leak caused a fiery explosion that critically burned two people inside a house in Peoria.

Peoria Fire Department officials are trying to determine what caused the Wednesday night blast in a residential neighborhood near 79th Avenue and Cholla Street.

A department spokesman said a 32-year-old man had serious burns to 60 percent of his body, and a 21-year-old woman suffered severe burns on 40 percent of her body.

Police officials say they believe the gas leak began from digging going on in the home's backyard.

Officials with Southwest Gas also were investigating Thursday and crews have turned off the gas to nearby homes.

Fire Capt. Rob Brewster said the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Neighbors said they heard the explosion and saw two people running from the home with burn injuries.

Police say the injured couple were renovating the home but apparently didn't live there.

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