UPDATE: Clinton County fire and explosion ruled accidental


Officials say the explosion and fire at a home near Colfax Friday that killed two people likely happened when the build-up of natural gas somehow ignited. Foul play is not suspected.

"The whole house was engulfed in flames," said neighbor Mark Lawson. "It was gone. There was nothing left."

The house was in the 4900 block of W. 500 South, which is about four miles northeast of Colfax, but the blaze could be seen from miles away. A passing interstate motorist saw it around 3:15 Friday and called for help.

"Just the flame. That's it. The whole thing was in flames,” said Lawson, who was inside his home Friday afternoon when he heard something loud. After seeing the flames, he figured, "It had to be some kind of an explosion."

"It was pretty violent," explained Chief Tracy Rose of the Perry Township Fire Department, speaking of the explosion that was so intense that pieces of debris were scattered all over the place. Some even landed on I-65, about 150 yards away.

"Unfortunately, we had two perish and we'll just try to do what we can do to get through it," said Chief Rose.

Friends of the still unidentified victims said they are a husband and wife; she had retired recently and he was about to as well.

"It's just a sad thing,” said Lawson.

The only fortunate part is that their home was isolated.

"If this would have been in a housing addition, obviously we would have had a bigger mess. Probably more homes, that would level them homes and possibly set fires to others," explained Chief Rose.

Autopsies on the victims were originally scheduled for Saturday, but were pushed back to Tuesday. That's when we can expect to learn the cause of death and when they will be officially identified.