EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Authorities gave updates during a press conference at noon on the August 10 explosion in the 1000 block of N Weinbach. CenterPoint spokesperson, Natalie Hedde, said that residents who live within Weinbach Avenue to Bellaire Avenue to Vogel Road as well as the east side of Hercules Avenue, should expect to remain without natural gas and electricity until the investigation is complete.
Evansville Fire Chief Mike Connelly said the investigation is being led by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. He also said that the investigation area (1010, 1008 and 1012 Weinbach Avenue) will be fenced in on Friday around 9 a.m. to reduce the footprint of isolation around the site.
Connelly retracted his previous statement that the explosion was accidental saying the cause is still undetermined. Officials say the road is being cleaned up for foot traffic but is not ready to be opened to vehicle traffic due to possible puncture hazards. Weinbach Avenue will be closed over the weekend between Vogel Road and Belaire Avenue.
The building commission will remain on site until 5 p.m. on Friday at the Knight Township Trustees office to escort residents to their property. The building commission will be on site Saturday and Sunday August 13 and 14 from 8 a.m. to noon. To arrange for an escort, call 812-436-7818.
The Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office has identified the three deceased as Charles Hite, 43; Martina Hite, 37; and Jessica Teague, 29. Evansville Fire Chief Mike Connelly said that only one other person was injured. On Friday, Fire Chief Connelly said the person who was non-fatally injured was no longer in a hospital.
Officials say eleven homes have been deemed uninhabitable. Three victims have been reported deceased. Authorities say two of the people who died, Charles and Martina Hite, were inside the house that exploded, while a neighbor, Jessica Teague, died in a house next door.
Full Gospel Mission has set up a GoFundMe to help cover funeral costs for Charles and Martina Hite. For more information, check the fundraiser page here.
The American Red Cross is helping out, and fourteen families have been displaced due to the explosion. No other victims have been found.