Sources: Stolen furnace, open gas line may be cause of house explosion in Muncie

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MUNCIE, Ind. (October 30, 2015) - 911 recordings were released after a house explosion rocked a Muncie neighborhood Thursday night. Investigators believe they may know the cause.

Sources close to the investigation said a stolen furnace, resulting in an open gas line, may be to blame for the blast. The basement was the ignition site for the explosion. Investigators believe the water heater pilot light next to the gas line is the likely ignition source.

The furnace would have had to have brought out by two people, likely through the back door.

A furnace and a stove were stolen some time within the last week from the home.

Investigators currently have two people of interest. Interviews are being conducted.

In the 911 recordings, neighbors are heard frantically asking for the fire department to respond to the address at the corner of 13th Street and Eaton Avenue.

“The house is totally gone. It blew up. There’s a fire in the back. We need fire trucks out here now," one caller said.

Neighbors were evacuated after reports the blast may have been caused by a gas explosion. Four blocks in each direction were evacuated by members of the Muncie Police Department. Officers went door to door, getting residents onto a bus and shuttling them to a nearby grocery store.

Thursday night, neighbors were allowed back into their homes. Friday morning, they spent the day looking at the damage.

"We just heard a huge explosion and we looked out the window and noticed that the house was down to the ground," said Sally Monroe who lives next door to the house that exploded. She woke up to find insulation, windows, siding, and pieces of the wall in her front yard.

The house on the other side of the explosion suffered damage. Windows were shattered and glass flew into the home damaging some items inside.

No no one was reported injured in the blast. The homeowners moved out of the residence four months ago. Family members said all personal belongings had been taken out of the home. The structure was vacant.

Now begins the long investigation process. Friday afternoon, crews tore down the house piece by piece searching for evidence. Items were placed inside brown paper bags and removed from the scene. The ATF, state fire marshal's office, Muncie Police Department, Muncie Fire Department, and the water and gas companies are working together in the investigation.

 

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