Team to review response to fatal house explosion

The neighborhood is slowly recovering.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety has formed a disaster review team to study how authorities responded to a fatal house explosion that devastated a city neighborhood in November.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs called it the finest initial response he has ever seen, but says there is always room to improve.

Prosecutors say three people blew up the house in an insurance fraud plot. The explosion killed a couple who lived next door and destroyed five homes. The explosion caused widespread damage to dozens of other homes, many of which had to be demolished.

The team will take a look at staffing during the incident as well as the costs and the allowing homeowners to have access to their property. The report is due Aug. 1.

More info:

The team will review staffing and expenditures tied to the incident; communication with DPS staff and the media; the process for homeowners to access their property; the recovery; equipment usage during the incident (both owned and rented). The team will ensure that best practices are documented and will develop a process for setting up a joint information center which will include a timeline and overview of events which would require a Joint Information Center to be setup.

The team will consist of nineteen (19) members, including Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons, IFD Deputy Chief Al Stovall, Facilitator Manny Mendez (IFD), IMPD Chief Hite, IFD Chief Sanford, the minister of Southport Presbyterian Church, Department of Code Enforcement representative, the neighborhood representative of Richmond Hill, Animal Care and Control's Dan Shackle, Council representatives Maggie Lewis and Jack Sandlin, and representatives from the FBI, ATF, IMPD, IFD, Homeland Security, Sheriff's Dispatch, the Mayor's Office media, and the DPS Board.

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