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Investigators: Natural Gas Causes House Explosion, Scrap Metal Theft Suspected
DAYTON -- Debris still engulfs two lots on Brooklyn Avenue - the site of the explosion at 515 Brooklyn, and the place next door, that had to be torn down. Now with the investigation in its second day, investigators say they have evidence it may not have been an accident.
They were able to determine it was a natural gas explosion. That was not the surprise. What was surprising is the circumstances surrounding the explosion are considered suspicious.
"I was driving about 20-25 miles an hour, and bam!" exclaimed Herman White. It was that quick and that startling for White, who was driving by as the home exploded. We aired the 911 call from his son, Eric, who was in the passenger seat.
Caller: "Somebody's house just blew up over here.
Dispatcher: "Are you on Brooklyn and Kammer?"
Caller: "Yes. "
Dispatcher: "Okay, we have someone on the way."
Caller: The (expletive) just blew up my truck."
"I thought the tank of the truck had blew up... it raised it... fire. I jumped out and he got out and was shaking his shirt to get the glass off of him," White said.
The back window is hanging on by a thread, and the side windows were blown out. The explosion's force projected a piece of debris into the truck.
" I can kind of still feel the bing, and a little ringing in my ears and stuff," White said.
The natural gas explosion damaged homes as far as 10 blocks away. There are 49 properties in all, including the vacant home and the one next door that had to be leveled. Investigators spent hours sifting through the rubble to find the source. They found evidence of scrapping, but they are trying to sure up that is what caused the explosion.
"If it turns out it was a scrapping operation, an illegal activity that leads to a problem like this, that would be cause for suspicion," said said Dayton Assistant Fire Chief Michael Caudill. When asked if that is what investigators are leaning towards, Caudill said, "Yes, it's very much a possibility, it's a strong possibility."
It could be several days before investigators determine an exact cause. Whatever sparked it, Herman White says he woke up this morning grateful to see another day.
"Very lucky... yes, truly were lucky."
With a big mess left here on Brooklyn Avenue, it is now up to the insurance companies to sort it through. Both places destroyed were insured.
DAYTON -- Investigators have confirmed that Monday morning's explosion that destroyed a house and damaged dozens of others was caused by natural gas.
Investigators say the circumstances are suspicious and they have found evidence of metal scrapping in the house. They are looking into whether the removal of pipes led to the explosion.
We are working on this story and we'll bring you the very latest online, and tonight at 6 on ABC 22 and at 6:30 on FOX 45.
RAW VIDEO: A drone captures the aftermath of a house explosion
Video courtesy Bob Ellis.
MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014: House Explodes in Dayton
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