At least three people have been found dead and roughly 39 houses have been severely damaged in the wake of a massive blast that leveled one home in Indiana late Wednesday evening.
The blast swept out of one neighborhood located in Evansville, with drone footage of the area unveiling that at least one house is completely destroyed as a result. It was confirmed by the local coroner that, as of writing, three people have been found dead as a result of the explosion, reported Tristate. Additionally, one person was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition after surviving the direct explosion.
It is still entirely unclear as to what caused the insane explosion. One spokesperson for the Fire Department of Evansville stated to Tristate that the local gas and electric company, CenterPoint, was not able to detect any leaking gas after making their way onto the scene. The same spokesperson also went on to add that 11 of the surrounding houses will have to be labeled as uninhabitable and thusly condemned.
Mike Connelly, the area Fire Chief, explained via a news conference that there could still be even more victims in the area as the search continues to expand. “There could be other victims, we have not completed our search. The buildings are not yet safe to enter,” stated Connelly, going further, “Initial survey of the damage is that 39 houses have been damaged from either severe to minor damage.”
People near the scene described their businesses and homes shaking when the blast took place. Vincent Taylor explained to 14 News that he was working on the roof of a nearby house roughly two blocks away from the epicenter of the explosion when he heard the blast and saw a cloud of debris raining down from the sky. Taylor stated that he was able to get onto the scene just a few moments later, and described it as “total devastation” “Their houses are totally gone. It’s bad,” he explained.
As reported by local officials, most of the homes in the area were unoccupied at the time of the blast, barring a few pets. A total of eight different agencies made their way to the scene that Wednesday afternoon and Connelly stated that there had been an arson investigation already launched about the incident.
“Our thoughts are with those closely involved with the explosion that happened on N. Weinbach this afternoon,” expressed the Evansville Police Department in a release. “As more information becomes available the respective agencies investigating will be able to provide more information.”
This most recent explosion took place in the exact same neighborhood as another explosion from back in 2017 that resulted in the deaths of two people.