Explosion Kills Two in South Side Neighborhood
Some homeowners being allowed back inside Richmond Hill subdivision
Flames engulfed two homes in the Richmond Hill neighborhood on the south side.
More images below (wibc.com photo by Kyle Wells)
Police are allowing some residents to go back to their homes in the Richmond Hill subdivision on the Southside after a Saturday night explosion that killed two people.
Some families are being allowed to go home one residence at a time, each escorted by an IMPD officer. Others are being allowed to go in and retrieve belongings from the 27 homes that have been deemed uninhabitable by investigators.
IFD Chief Kenny Bacon says two homes near the 8400 block of Fieldfare Way were destroyed by the initial blast just after 11 p.m. Saturday, while two others were destroyed by fires caused by the explosion. Windows and doors were blown out of several homes nearby, and the blast was felt for several miles.
The identities of the two victims have not been released, as relatives have not yet been notified. Eight others were hurt, though their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Mary Bryant Elementary School on Stop 11 Road was initially used as a shelter and a staging area for relief supplies, but that area has since been moved to Southport Presbyterian Church.
While most suspect that this was a gas explosion, investigators adamantly say they are not ruling out any cause for the blast. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was notified as was the Department of Homeland Security. Dan Considine with Citizens Energy says no one in the area reported smelling natural gas in the days leading up to the explosion.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross says they do not need further donations of supplies at this time, and suggest those wishing to help should make cash donations at it's website. Indy Fire and Rescue House is also accepting donations at it's website.
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Considine says gas service was initially shut off to 26 surrounding homes and will be restored on a house-by-house basis. Power to a handful of homes also remains out, and is also being restored as the day goes on. For homes that are livable, IMPD and IFD says everyone should be allowed back in by this evening.
IFD says determining a cause of the blast could take several weeks of sifting through the rubble of the house where the explosion originated.