Survivors of North County home explosion recall the blast that killed four people

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV) - Early Friday morning, an explosion inside a home rocked a North County neighborhood. Near the 6600 block of Parker Road, four people were killed after prosecutors said they were making explosives inside the home’s garage. Now, family members who survived the crash tell a different story.

“I was asleep. I heard a big boom. My bed flew in the air, and I hit my head on the ceiling. Everything was falling down,” Diamonte Cooks said.

Diamonte Cooks and his mother searched the burning home Friday morning trying to save everyone inside. Diamonte Cooks said his mother and two younger siblings made it out okay, but his other brother 18-year-old Damario Cooks and his friends 17-year-old Christopher Jones, 21-year-old William Jones and 16-year-old Travell Eason were killed in the blast. Diamonte Cooks said Sunday it was his first time seeing the house since the incident.

“This is my first time seeing it since it happened. I haven’t had the guts or whatever to come back. It was very hard. I was really thinking it was my fault,” Diamonte Cooks said.

Read: Two men charged in deadly North County home explosion

Cooks said he came home around 11:30 Thursday night and saw everyone hanging out in the garage. The explosion happened a few hours later early Friday morning.

Sunday morning, The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said those in the garage were building manufactured explosive devices which triggered the home explosion. Terrell Cooks and Seneca Mahan, who don’t live at the home, are charged with second-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of an illegal weapon in relation to the incident.

A probable cause statement said Terrell Cooks confessed to detectives that people in the garage were making explosive devices for him and Mahan. Detectives also said they found boxes of chemicals, large quantities of completed explosive weapons and other components to make the devices at another home connected to the suspects.

Read: Death toll in North County house explosion rises to 4

However, Diamonte Cooks, other family members and friends told News 4 they believe the explosion was caused by a gas leak. Diamonte Cooks said they’ve had issues with gas leaking inside the home for a while.

“Everybody with massive headaches and even people that would come over that hadn’t been over would say they smelled gas,” Diamonte Cooks explained.

News 4 asked Diamonte Cooks what he thought of Terrell Cooks confessing to the making of explosives.

“Ridiculous, but you know, they really haven’t been telling us anything. It seems like the people out there know more than we do and we were part of the incident,” Diamonte Cooks responded.

A Spire spokesperson said Sunday there definitively was not a gas leak that caused the explosion.