House explodes on west side
A vacant house in the 1000 block of South Warman exploded early Thursday morning, scattering debris over a two-block area in the neighborhood south of Interstate 70 and east of Eagle Creek.
Citizens Gas determined later in the day that someone trying to steal appliances and metal from the home broke a portion of the home's gas line which ultimately fed gas into the basement, causing the explosion.
Firefighters on the scene shortly after 12:40 a.m. said the house was vacant but under renovation.
No fire resulted from the explosion, and nobody was injured in the area, thanks in part to the timing of the explosion.
"There could have been kids in the street," said IFD spokesperson Bonnie Hensley. "We're lucky it happened the way it happened."
Residents in adjacent houses were temporarily evacuated as a precaution. Some sustained damage from debris.
"The bathroom tiles are off," said Beth Kelly, a neighbor. "There is a brick through the bedroom window. Our air conditioner is demolished."
Utilities were shut off at the scene.
The house is owned by Lennie Young, according to Hensley. It was undergoing renovation after a fire last summer. Investigators will sift through the debris to determine the cause of the explosion.
The house will be torn down and marked as total loss, estimated at $75,000.