A house exploded in Evansville, Indiana, leaving 39 surrounding buildings severely damaged, and 11 of them completely destroyed.
A new development overnight revealed that a similar situation happened in 2017 where two people were killed just blocks away from Wednesday’s blast. The cause of that previous explosion was believed to be a gas leak.
“I thought an airplane crashed — I really did. It blew me off the couch and my left shoulder feels like it’s been banged a little bit,” a resident told NewsNation.
First responders arrived within minutes of the first call; finding flames, a cloud of smoke and people laying on the ground.
Drone video showed the destructive power of the blast, with firefighters saying the force sent glass, wood and insulation debris raining down across a 100ft radius.
For Arcey Gonzalez, the house she moved into just a month ago was now completely inhabitable.
“The structure is not sound anymore. So we probably may not be able to get in to get anything if there’s … whatever’s left,” Gonzalez said.
Luckily, Gonzalez and her son were not home at the time of the explosion. She told NewsNation that she was at a therapy session when she received five or six phone calls from various people who knew she had just moved to the block where the explosion occurred.
“It feels impossible,” she said. “It feels like this is a really weird, bad dream.”
Evansville City Council Attorney Joshua Claybourn said that the emergency response has been quick and focused on helping the community recover. The Red Cross has also been active in relocating misplaced families and helping them access what they need.
“This was a massive explosion, at least 11 of the 39 homes that were damaged are uninhabitable. At least one of them was effectively vaporized. So it had to have been something that could carry such a big punch. I mean, it felt and looks like a bomb went off,” Claybourn explained.
Claybourn said he does remember the house explosion in 2017, but couldn’t recall the cause of that explosion. However, he did remember a similar explosion from back in 2004.
“Unfortunately, these do happen throughout the country, and I’ll even say, in 2004, in somewhat of a similar area, there was another gas natural gas explosion that level the home as well. So it is concerning that we’ve had that happen several times over recent years,” Claybourn said.
An investigation is ongoing into what could have caused the explosion. The energy company did comment that there was no gas detected at the scene.