CASS COUNTY, Ind. — An investigation is underway after a Cass County man was critically injured in a home explosion.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office said the explosion happened just before 2 a.m. Sunday. Police dispatch received several calls about a fire and explosion in Royal Center on U.S. 35 North.

“I live in the area and I’m also a member of the local volunteer fire department and the explosion actually woke me and my wife,” said Cass County Sheriff Ed Schroder. “I got up and started checking in our area if there was anything visible and shortly thereafter the local fire department was sent to a residence that had reportedly exploded.”

Schroder said as he was driving to the fire station, he could see flames from where he was, about two miles away.

“I actually called the local dispatch center when I was en route and they actually had a caller tell them they had a plane that had crashed, so until someone’s actually on scene to give us a good situational representation, we had no idea what to expect,” said Schroder.

When deputies arrived, they found that a home in the 400 block of North Chicago Street had exploded and caught fire. An initial investigation indicates the homeowner, 51-year-old Jody Thompson, was asleep when his home exploded.

A neighbor heard and felt the explosion and was able to get Thompson into his vehicle until medical personnel could arrive and help.

“It was a neighbor a couple doors down who actually heard the explosion and looked out and saw it, came out with his wife and drove to the residence,” said Schroder.

He said, the neighbor heard the resident calling for help outside and found the man near his vehicle.

“He actually scooped up the homeowner and put him in his vehicle, wrapped him up and tried to calm him down while waiting on first responders,” said Schroder, who noted that the neighbor and resident injured in the fire know each other well.

Sheriff Schroder said he spoke with the Good Samaritan two times on Sunday.

“He is affected emotionally by what happened and how the events unfolded and it was just a great thing to know that someone will step up and help a neighbor, protect them and help them and calm them down in such a chaotic and emergency scene,” said Schroder.

“He put someone who is injured in his vehicle, he tried to calm him, there is a possibility of bloodborne pathogens and biohazards and he threw that all away and helped a friend in need,” Schroder added.

Thompson was transported to an Indianapolis hospital where he was last listed in critical condition.

“This is a terrible tragedy that critically injured Mr. Thompson while destroying his home and personal possessions. We received reports of citizens hearing and feeling the explosion from at least 8 miles away,” said Schroder.

“It was devastating to see,” said Schroder. “Basically the residence was completely flattened and decimated. Looking at it in the daylight today, there really wasn’t anything that was not touched by fire or been destroyed by the explosion.”

This is the second home explosion in Cass County in the last few months. On October 8, a home explosion in Twelve Mile ultimately claimed the life of 63-year-old Paul Ulerick.

“This is the second home explosion that we’ve seen in Cass County in the past few months and the State Fire Marshal’s Office has been assisting in investigating that and hopefully we can come to some rationale as to why it happened but it’s very traumatic. It’s a loss of property and serious injuries,” said Schroder.

The explosion remains under the investigation by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office.

“No tidbit is too small to try to piece together what happened to this poor man and his residence and it’s once of those, it may be months before we have a final conclusion as to what occurred. The investigation will continue between the two agencies and then there will be other engineers and other people involved to determine what caused the explosion in Mr. Thompson’s residence,” Schroder said.

Anyone with information can call the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at (574)753-7800 or reach out to them via social media.