Deadly house explosion under investigation in Jeffersonville

(WAVE-TV photo)
Deadly House Explosion in Jeffersonville
Deadly house explosion

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - In southern Indiana, police, fire and gas company investigators are trying to figure out what caused a powerful and deadly weekend explosion that damaged more than a dozen homes.

The scene in the Capital Hills neighborhood in Jeffersonville is eerily reminiscent of the Richmond Hill neighborhood in Indianapolis in 2012.

The street at the center of the blast looks like a war zone: blown out windows, scattered insulation and one home, completely leveled.

"When you see a six or eight inch concrete foundation that is totally broke apart, that's one horrific blast," said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who toured the neighborhood on Monday. "It took my breath away."

"That house is just obliterated," said neighbor Matt Goodman. "It's gone. There's a basement. That's it."

Goodman lives one street, or about a football field length away from that house.

He felt the blast just before 5 a.m. Sunday. He heard it. His house was damaged too.

"It was like a sonic boom," Goodman said. "It felt like there was a tank going through drills in the neighborhood. That's how loud it was. It just woke you instantly out of bed, pulled me out of bed almost."

Investigators say the person who lived at the home that was destroyed died in Sunday's explosion.

Three others were hurt, including a little girl who broke her collarbone when a ceiling collapsed. She's now doing better and went back to school on Monday.

But one woman injured was still in critical condition as of Monday morning.

The destruction in that neighborhood is widespread.

Jeffersonville's building commissioner says at least 15 homes are damaged.

Eight of them suffered severe damage and are unlivable right now. Vectren, the natural gas company, is paying for some of those families to stay somewhere else.

City engineers will be going in those houses over the next couple of days to decided if they can be made safe enough to live in.

Vectren shut off gas lines to the eight homes and secured lines everywhere else in the neighborhood.

Investigators still haven't pinpointed what caused the explosion.

They did rule out a meth lab, but have not determined if this was an accident or caused by something criminal.

Meanwhile, community members are trying to help families affected in a neighborhood badly shaken.

"As bad as this is, I think we're still very lucky," Mayor Moore said. "Everyone's trying to help each other."

Police said in the next 24 hours we should learn the name of the person who died, along with how the injured are doing.

They plan to secure and block off a portion of the neighborhood for the next couple of days, as they sift through debris and determine exactly what set off the explosion.

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