EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Indiana State Fire Marshal has ruled the cause of a fatal home explosion in Evansville in August to be accidental, following a joint investigation by the fire marshal and the Evansville Fire Department (EFD).
Officials say the explosion occurred on August 10 in the 1000 block of North Weinbach Avenue in Evansville. A press release says the blast resulted in three fatalities and damage to multiple homes in the area. A home at 1010 N. Weinbach Ave. was determined to be the epicenter of the blast.
Indiana Department of Homeland Security says investigators discovered a leaking gas line in the basement of the home. Officials say the line was found uncapped, with the valve in the open position. Officials say meter data taken after the incident showed a sharp increase in gas usage beginning two days before the blast. IDHS says no additional evidence was found to determine how the valve was opened; however, there is no indication of foul play.
IDHS says the source of ignition within the home could not be determined, although electrical devices and other appliances in the home could have served as an ignition source. Officials say after the blast, the gas lines between the main and meter were pressure tested and were found to be in proper working order. Authorities say additionally, testing also confirmed the odorant additive Mercaptan was present in the natural gas line leading to the home. Officials says it could not be determined how the occupants were unaware of the gas accumulating in the home.
CenterPoint Energy released the following statement following the announcement:
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected by the Aug. 10 incident at 1010 N. Weinbach Avenue. We also want to express our appreciation to the Indiana State Fire Marshal, Evansville Fire Department, Evansville Police Department and all personnel who assisted with the investigation.
Following the incident, CenterPoint Energy conducted various tests on its system and outside the surrounding area in the 1000 block of North Weinbach Avenue, indicating no issues. CenterPoint Energy shared its data and fully cooperated with the Indiana State Fire Marshal and additional agencies in its investigation. The State Fire Marshal’s report released today further supports the company’s findings, determining that an accident inside the house, independent of CenterPoint Energy’s system, was the cause of the incident.
CenterPoint Energy is committed to protecting our employees, contractors, systems, customers and the public. Our goal is to deliver electricity and natural gas safely to the communities we serve.CenterPoint Energy statement
Officials with EFD held a brief press conference to discuss the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s findings in regards to the August 10 house explosion on Wednesday.