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Deadly House Explosion Ruled Accidental

Emergency crews respond to a house explosion Wednesday on North Weinbach Avenue in Evansville, Ind., Wednesday.
MaCabe Brown
Evansville Courier & Press via AP
Emergency crews responded to a house explosion in the 1000 block of N. Weinbach Ave. in Evansville, August 10.

State Fire Marshall says open gas line in basement led to the devastating blast

Authorities have determined the cause of a deadly house explosion in Evansville. WNIN’s John Gibson has the update:

The Indiana Fire Marshal’s Office says investigators discovered a leaking gas line in the basement of the home where the blast originated, at 1011 N. Weinbach Avenue.

Investigators say the line was found uncapped, with the valve in the open position. Meter readings taken after the explosion showed a sharp increase in gas usage starting two days before the blast.

The office says no evidence was found to determine how the valve was opened but there was no indication of foul play.

Evansville Fire Department Division Chief Mike Larson says with gas accumulating in the home, something as simple as turning on a light switch could ignite it:

"Any kind of spark, any kind of flame, anything. It could be static from your clothes."

It’s not clear why the residents didn’t smell the odorant additive Mercaptan that investigators say was present in the gas line.

The August 10th blast killed two residents inside the house and a next door neighbor. It also damaged eleven homes beyond repair.

CenterPoint Energy the official cause supports the company’s findings, determining an accident inside the house led to the blast, independent of the utility’s system.

More: Division Chief Larson said he hopes the findings bring some relief:

"I would hope that due to all the people's lives that were affected in that area, this would help them bring it to closure. The investigation is complete, these are the findings, and hopefully it will help everybody be able to move forward from this point."