"People who lived close to it say it was something that they could not describe," said Livingston, Ala., public safety director Ashley Welbourne. "You had to be here. You couldn't describe it."
A mysterious explosion happened Wednesday night around 8:30 p.m. at the gas island in front of the IGA store at the intersection of Highways 11 and 28. Investigators say the building where the clerk was exploded.
To paint a picture of what happened, glass on the ground form the gas clerk's quarters was found across the street, another was in front of IGA, and another piece was wrapped around a gas pump.
Investigators say the explosion could be felt from as far as 4 miles. The area was evacuated in a six block radius as a precaution.
The victim was identified as 21-year-old TaTania Ward from Yantley, Ala. She is a junior at the University of West Alabama.
Investigators say the strange thing about the explosion is that no fire was showing when emergency responders arrived. Officials say it may take anywhere from a few months to a year to pinpoint the cause.
While the power has been shut off to the damaged area, Chief Welbourne says residents are still advised to be careful and not get close to it.
"Until we know exactly what the reason for it happening is, there's really no way to answer whether they're in danger again," Welbourne said.
Ward is being treated for severe burns to the face and arms at the University of South Alabama Hospital in Mobile. She was listed in critical condition. While she's expected to recover, doctors say she could remain in ICU for several weeks.