The cause of a massive explosion that destroyed a house in the United Kingdom in February 2016 has been revealed.
In the end, ants turned out to be the cause of the explosion.
According to reports, the explosion was caused by a damaged gas pipe that was corroded by water-logging and formic acid, which was produced by a nearby ant nest.
Scientist Elizabeth Great of the University of Nottingham explained that “organic acids are known to attack copper.”
“Ants produce this formic acid which attacks copper,” she said. “It seems unique and coincidental that it seemed to be an ant nest there.”
Steve Critchlow, a gas engineer and investigator for the Health and Safety Laboratory, explained that there was no evidence the gas had been leaking for a prolonged period of time.
“I would imagine that probably an hour, maximum, would be enough to create this sort of incident,” Critchlow explained. “The house was pretty much full of gas.”
Paramedic Andrew Hewitson arrived at the scene and described it as a “scene of destruction” and “complete devastation.”
“My first thought was that it was a possible plane crash,” Hewitson said. “To be honest, it was something as a paramedic and personally I hadn’t ever seen before. It was complete destruction.”
Firefighter Michael Jamieson agreed with Heitson, saying that he had “never seen so much catastrophic damage.”
“The smell was extremely strong and pungent and it made me feel physically sick,” she explained, but the couple ironically had attributed the smell to a “rotting ants’ nest” in a wall cavity.
It is terrifying to believe that something as harmless as ants caused such a catastrophic explosion.