EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Today marks a somber anniversary for Evansville, one year ago a massive explosion destroyed several homes and damaged many others along Weinbach Avenue.
The explosion took the lives of Charles and Martina Hite, who were inside the home that exploded. Their next door neighbor, Jessica Teague also died.
Following the explosion, the area was shut down for several days to allow crews to investigate a cause, safely clean up and allow inspector to evaluate nearby home to see if they were salvageable. 39 structures were damaged by the explosion in total, with 11 of them being deemed uninhabitable.
It took nearly two months for officials to determine the cause of the explosion. The Indiana department of homeland security concluded that an uncapped and opened gas valve was found in the basement of the home that blew up. However the the state’s Fire Marshal’s Office could not determine was exactly sparked the explosion. After pulling gas meter data from the home, the results showed a sharp increase in gas usage beginning two days before the blast.
CenterPoint announced during that their tests indicated no issues on their system and investigation findings concluded that the incident occurred outside of their system. Testing also confirmed that the odorant added into natural gas was present in the line leading to the home.
The Evansville City Council voted unanimously to approve more than 100 thousand dollars for demolition of homes that were damaged in the blast as well as trash cleanup.
Just days after the Weinbach explosion, another deadly home explosion occurred in Wabash County just north of Allendale Illinois. Neighbors rushed to the scene to help rescue people inside the home. Kevin Murphy died following the blast, and just over a week later his wife Sue, also succumbed to her injuries. Authorities never determined the cause of that explosion.