EVANSVILLE, Indiana — Three people were killed Wednesday when a home exploded in the southern Indiana town of Evansville, authorities said.
Dave Anson, assistant Vanderburgh County coroner, told The Associated Press that the identity of the deceased will not be released until next of kin have been notified.
Evansville Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Gray said at least one other injury was reported and the victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said around 1 p.m. a total of 39 homes were damaged by the blast.
At least 11 of the 39 damaged homes were “uninhabitable,” Connelly told the Evansville Courier & Press.
The cause of the explosion was not determined, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating. A phone message was left at the ATF field office in Evansville asking for comment.
“Debris is scattered over a 100-foot radius,” including “typical building materials” such as wood planks, window glass and insulation, Connelly said.
Aerial video posted to social media shows damage in a residential area with police and fire vehicles on site in Evansville on the Kentucky border.
CenterPoint Energy, the local gas utility, was last called into the home in January 2018, Connelly said. CenterPoint issued a statement saying it was “working with first responders to secure the area.”
“CenterPoint Energy is working closely with the Evansville Fire Department, State Fire Marshal and other agencies as the investigation into this incident continues,” the utility said.
Jacki Baumgart, an office manager at Award World Trophies, about two and a half blocks from the site of the blast, said she and other employees in her building panicked when they heard the loud blast and saw smoke.
“We thought a tree fell on the building or a car drove into town,” said Baumgart. “Debris from the ceiling came down.”
She continued: “Everyone here immediately ran out of the building. We thought the building would collapse.”
It was the second home explosion in the area in just over five years. A house explosion on June 27, 2017 killed two people and injured three others.
Wednesday’s blast was also reminiscent of a massive blast in 2012 that destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes on the south side of Indianapolis and killed two people. A man has been convicted of attempting to tamper with a natural gas line at his then-girlfriend’s house to commit insurance fraud, with the blast killing two neighbors. This man, his half-brother and his girlfriend were all sentenced to long prison terms.
https://nypost.com/2022/08/10/house-explosion-in-southern-indiana-kills-3/ A house explosion in southern Indiana kills 3 people