Three people are dead and at least 39 homes damaged after an explosion leveled a house in Indiana Wednesday afternoon.
The explosion rocked a neighborhood in Evansville, with drone footage showing one house completely destroyed from the blast. The coroner confirmed that three people had died from the explosion, Tristate reported. One other person was reportedly in the hospital after surviving the explosion.
It was not immediately clear what caused the massive explosion. A spokesperson for the Evansville Fire Department told Tristate that the gas and electric company CenterPoint made no detection of gas after arriving on the scene. The spokesperson added that 11 of the houses affected will be uninhabitable.
Fire Chief Mike Connelly said in a news conference that there could be more victims found as the search continues. “There could be other victims, we have not completed our search. The buildings are not yet safe to enter,” Connelly said, adding, “Initial survey of the damage is that 39 houses have been damaged from either severe to minor damage.”
The explosion occurred in the same neighborhood as a 2017 explosion that killed two people, according to 14 News reporter Randy Moore.
People near the scene described their homes and businesses shaking when the explosion happened. Vincent Taylor told 14 News that he was working on the roof of a house two blocks away from the blast when he heard the explosion and saw debris falling from the sky. Taylor said he got to the scene moments later, and described it as “total devastation.” “Their houses are totally gone. It’s bad,” he remarked.
According to officials, most of the homes in the neighborhood were unoccupied at the time of the explosion other than some pets. Eight different agencies were on the scene Wednesday afternoon, and Connelly said an arson investigation had been launched.
“Our thoughts are with those closely involved with the explosion that happened on N. Weinbach this afternoon,” the Evansville Police Department said in a statement. “As more information becomes available the respective agencies investigating will be able to provide more information.”
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.