Expert says explosion investigation will take time - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Expert says explosion investigation will take time

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Dr. Stewart Schreckengast Dr. Stewart Schreckengast
WEST LAFAYETTE -

It could be months before investigators pinpoint the exact cause of the explosion in a south Indianapolis neighborhood. An experienced crash investigator says the community needs to be patient, because it's about more than just finding the source of the explosion.

From the blast zone, Federal investigators now say the natural gas line outside the house did not cause the explosion on Fieldfare Way Saturday night.

So what killed two people and did so much damage?

Not a bomb or meth lab, they say. Online, people talk about CIA drones, even meteorites. There are more realistic theories, too, but Purdue aviation expert Dr. Stewart Schreckengast says, "Almost never does an initial theory become the actual cause."

Schreckengast has worked air crash investigations where black boxes helped lead to a cause. But he says house explosion investigators may recover and work with "black boxes," too. For example, the former owner of the home believed to be at the center of the explosion says the furnace may have been faulty.

"The circuitry on some of the equipment actually gives you fault codes. And if the circuit boards are intact, you can tell what was not correct, perhaps," Schreckengast said.

He says it's not just about finding a broken piece of equipment. Did something else fuel the massive blast?

Some homeowners "never look at the incompatibility of chemicals and heat sources, especially storing things in basements where you don't have good ventilation is a big challenge to keep things safe," Schreckengast said.

Investigators need to know the sequence in which things failed.

"Was this a secondary explosion that came off some primary explosion?" Schreckengast asked.

Did chemicals explode first, rupturing the inside gas lines? But if it's faulty equipment, Schreckengast says, "there must be thousands of them out in the community."

Others may need to be recalled.

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