EVANSVILLE, Ind. — At least three people died after a house exploded Wednesday, damaging dozens of homes and making some of them uninhabitable, an official said.
Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said the explosion had a 100-foot blast radius and damaged about 40 homes, at least 11 of which were deemed “uninhabitable.” There is no word yet on what caused it.
The explosion, which was reported just before 1 p.m. appears to have destroyed the home where it happened, according to a photo Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke posted to social media.
Neighboring homes suffered heavy damage and the residential street was littered with debris. Police shut down nearby streets.
The Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office confirmed Wednesday afternoon that three people had died. Connelly said the search for victims hadn’t been completed, and that “there could be other victims.”
“There are three deaths reported to us that are a result of the explosion on North Weinbach Avenue,” the office said in an email statement.
Earlier Wednesday, Evansville Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Gray said two people were injured in the house that exploded. She said a third injury was in a neighboring house. The fire department had not confirmed if all of the houses were unoccupied at the time of the blast because “some were too unstable to enter.”
Jasmine Vickers, who works at a child care center about four blocks away from the explosion, said the loud sound occurred during the kids’ nap time and amazingly only woke up one of them.
“But the building shook, and we looked outside and saw everyone running,” she said.
She said she woke everyone up and evacuated the building immediately.
Leslie Lawrence, who works for a trophy store, said when the explosion happened, “Everybody jumped. We thought a tree had fallen on us, or a car crashed into the building.”
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene investigating Wednesday afternoon.
In a Twitter post, Winnecke said the local Red Cross chapter was on scene providing food and water, and would be assisting those “with sheltering needs.”
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