Crews begin cleaning wreckage from south side explosion

Indianapolis

Crews have begun cleaning up the wreckage caused by a home explosion on the city’s south side that killed two people and injured seven late Saturday night.

Officials with the Indianapolis Fire Department said Tuesday their focus is now in the recovery phase and helping displaced residents of the Richmond Hill subdivision.  They said crews have worked rapidly to clear the debris, and the streets in the community have been cleared so far.

Approximately 200 residents were evacuated from their houses following the blast. During a briefing Monday, investigators stated 29 of the 80 affected homes remain uninhabitable.

Some homeowners were allowed to return to their homes Monday in order to survey the damage with insurance adjusters.  However, officials said there are six houses in need of “substantial shoring” before those homes can be inspected.

Officials from the Indianapolis Division of Homeland Security, Code Enforcement and Citizens Energy refused to speculate about the cause of the explosion. They also couldn’t confirm reports that the home in question had a high amount of gas consumption or a faulty furnace, as the homeowner reported.

According to Citizens Energy spokeswoman Sarah Holsapple, tests are continuing to determine whether a gas leak was to blame for the disaster.

IFD Public Information Officer Capt. Rita Burris said they are awaiting test results from utility sources and the fire investigations section. 

Burris said IFD officials are working with mental health professionals to provide counseling to residents affected by the tragedy.  Counseling is being provided by the American Red Cross, MESH and IFD chaplains.

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