Home explosion in Evansville, Indiana kills 3 as authorities work to determine cause

EVANSVILLE, Indiana — Authorities worked Thursday to determine the cause of a home explosion in a southern Indiana neighborhood that killed three people and hospitalized another.

Wednesday afternoon’s explosion in Evansville damaged 39 homes and crews had yet to complete thorough searches of all of them due to structural instability, Fire Chief Mike Connelly told reporters Thursday morning.

Eleven of the damaged homes were uninhabitable and will need to be demolished, Connelly said, and finding a cause is expected to be a “very tedious – and time-consuming process”.

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The names of the dead had not been released Thursday morning. The fourth victim’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, Connelly said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also investigating.

Evansville is located along the Indiana-Kentucky border. The explosion left debris strewn over a radius of 100 feet (30 meters). The debris included building materials like planks of wood, glass and insulation.

CenterPoint Energy, the local gas utility, was last called home in January 2018, Connelly said Wednesday.

“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.

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.

Wednesday’s blast was also reminiscent of a massive explosion 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 tampering with a natural gas line at his then-girlfriend’s home in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.

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