Terrified 911 callers detail explosion at Josh Powell's home

At explosion occured at Josh Powell's house after he got his two young sons inside, officials said.

Story highlights

  • Sheriff's department releases several 911 tapes
  • A social worker says she fears for the kids' lives
  • Josh Powell's sister says she is worried about her brother
  • Powell's attorney says the fire was 'intentional'
Even before the explosions and blaze that killed Josh Powell and his two sons, a social worker feared the boys she brought for a supervised visit with their father were in extreme danger.
Powell snatched the boys from her and slammed the door of his Graham, Washington, home as the smell of gasoline wafted in the air, the social worker told 911 operators.
"Josh Powell will not let me in the door. What should I do?" She asked the dispatcher, her voice rising with anxiety. "This could be life-threatening. He went to court Wednesday and didn't get his kids back. I'm afraid for their lives.
"Nothing like this has ever happened before at these visitations, so I'm really shocked. I can hear one of the kids crying," she said.
The social worker's 911 conversations were part of several released by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department Tuesday. The tapes detail the chilling moments surrounding the Sunday deaths.
Susan Powell's family breaks silence
Susan Powell's family breaks silence

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Susan Powell's family breaks silence 06:03
Powell's last moments revealed
Powell's last moments revealed

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    Powell's last moments revealed

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Powell's last moments revealed 05:15
Timeline of the Powell family tragedy
Timeline of the Powell family tragedy

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Timeline of the Powell family tragedy 03:58
Powell sent multiple e-mails before fire
Powell sent multiple e-mails before fire

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    Powell sent multiple e-mails before fire

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Powell sent multiple e-mails before fire 02:58
Authorities say Powell, who is also a suspect in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox-Powell, planned his sons' fiery deaths.
Before the inferno Sunday, Alina Powell called police dispatchers to say she was worried about "weird" messages she had just received from her brother.
"He said something about he can't live without his sons. And goodbye," Alina Powell told the emergency operator.
Through sobs, Powell told the dispatcher she was "terrified to drive over there" herself.
"I'm not afraid of him," she said. "He's never hurt me. I'm afraid of seeing something I don't want to see."
After the blaze started, neighbors and acquaintances, some frantic and fearful, began calling the 911 center to rush help to Powell's home.
One female neighbor told emergency operators that the home was engulfed in flames.
"There was a loud, huge boom. And there is crap flying all over the place. Dark smoke," the woman said.
Jeff Bassett, Josh Powell's attorney, also called 911 after he received an e-mail from his client.
"I understand he may have had an explosion. I may have some information," he told the operator. "Just if it was an accident or if it was more than that. I got an e-mail from my client and that e-mail gives me every indication that it was intentional. ... Basically, it says 'I'm sorry and goodbye.'"
Powell's boss called and said he also received an e-mail from Powell, saying goodbye.
The social worker called back to 911 after the explosion to make sure it was understood that there were people in the home before the fire.
"There's two little boys in the house, they are 5 and 7, and there is an adult male and he had supervised visits and he blew up the house and the kids!"