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Authorities worked Thursday to determine the cause of a house explosion that killed three people and hospitalized another in a southern Indiana neighborhood.
Fire Chief Mike Connelly told reporters Thursday morning that an explosion in Evansville Wednesday afternoon damaged 39 homes and that crews have not yet completed a thorough search of everything due to the instability of the structures.
Connelly said the eleven damaged homes are uninhabitable and will have to be demolished, and that finding the cause is expected to be “a very tedious process – and a long one”.
The name of the deceased was not released till Thursday morning. The fourth victim’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, Connelly said.
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also investigating.
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Evansville is located on Indiana’s border with Kentucky. Debris from the explosion was spread over a radius of 100 feet. Debris includes construction materials such as wood planks, window glass and insulation.
Centerpoint Energy, a local gas utility, was last called to the home in January 2018, Connelly said Wednesday.
“CenterPoint Energy is working closely with the Evansville Fire Department, State Fire Marshal and other agencies as the investigation of this incident continues,” the utility said.
This is the second house explosion in the area in five years. On June 27, 2017, two people died and three others were injured in a house explosion.
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Wednesday’s blast brought to mind a massive explosion in 2012 that destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes on the south side of Indianapolis and killed two people. A man was convicted of tampering with a natural gas line at his then-girlfriend’s home in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.