Woman injured in explosion dies in hospital

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

A Portales woman injured in an explosion at her home Wednesday has died in a Lubbock hospital.

Clytie Calton, 91, whose family owned and operated Calton Furniture in Portales, died late Saturday morning.

Services are pending for Calton with Wheeler Mortuary.

Family members smelled natural gas odorant inside the house just prior to the explosion, which caused major damage to the home in the Yucca Heights subdivision. Investigators have sealed the property off with chain-link fencing and, “No trespassing” signs but have not yet released an official cause for the blast.

Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said investigators have been moving methodically through the debris-strewn scene to investigate the exact cause. He said his department is through with its investigation.

“Right now we’re ruling out anything criminal and have turned the scene over to the state fire marshal’s office,” Berry said.

Berry wouldn’t say if natural gas was the focus of the investigation or not, only that investigators wanted to take their time in determining the cause.

“Obviously the family said they smelled gas, but you can’t rule anything out until the exact cause is found,” Berry said.

Berry said investigators from other agencies and insurance companies would likely be at the scene for at least another week.

Bill Calton, Clytie Calton’s son, who was also in the home at the time of the blast, and uninjured, said insurance investigators trained in this type of accident will inspect the house in the next few days but for now, the family has not been allowed inside the home.

“We always want to say thanks,” Bill Calton said. “A lot of people have offered a lot of help. We appreciate what the EMTs and the police guys did as well.

Members of the family were gathering at the home of Clytie Calton’s daughter Sharon Davis and remembering her as the center of the family and the furniture business.

They said she was an active lady who had continued to work at the store every day. They said she had been there Wednesday.