Cause of enormous US blast that killed 2 unknown
Indianapolis: An enormous blast in the US Midwest that killed two people, obliterated two homes and made dozens more uninhabitable came with no hint of warning, and authorities today were still trying to find the cause of the explosion.
The home owner today wondered whether a faulty furnace was to blame.
Fire officials expressed amazement that only two people died late Saturday in the Indianapolis explosion, which rocked several houses from their foundations. Hundreds of residents evacuated. A fire burned for hours, engulfing dozens of homes.
The owner of the house that exploded, John Shirley, told The Associated Press that he received a text message last week from his daughter about a problem with the furnace at the house the girl shares with her mother and her mother's boyfriend.
Shirley said no one was home at the time of the explosion. His ex-wife, Monserrate Shirley, declined to comment.
Early Monday, Indianapolis public safety director Troy Riggs told WISH-TV that forensic investigators were talking with utility companies and others as they tried to determine the cause.
US Rep Andre Carson, who represents the area, has said he had been told a bomb or meth lab explosion had been ruled out. Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon said investigators hadn't ruled out any possible causes.
Citizens Energy had received no calls from people in the area smelling the rotten-egg odor of a chemical added to the odorless natural gas, utility spokesman Dan Considine said.
"Most of the time when there's a gas leak, people smell it," he said. "But not always."
Officials have not released the identities of the two people killed. A candlelight vigil was held yesterday for teacher Jennifer Longworth. She and her husband, John Dion Longworth, lived in one of the homes destroyed in the blast.
Deputy Code Enforcement Director Adam Collins said 80 homes were damaged, including 31 that might need to be demolished. He estimated the damage at USD 3.6 million.