On Saturday night, a home explosion in the south side of Indianapolis IN leveled that house as well as the neighbor’s home immediately to their south. The Indianapolis Fire Department says the explosion happened in the 8400 block of Fieldfare Way, which is in a subdivision just off of Sherman Drive south of Stop 11 Road.
At a Sunday afternoon press conference, officials say damages are estimated at $3.6 million. Five homes are gone or need to be demolished. A total of 80 homes were affected. The cause of the explosion is still yet undetermined although natural gas is the suspected culprit.
Two died in this explosion. Dion and Jennifer Longworth, A Greenwood teacher and her husband, were in their home when it went up in flames. There was no chance of getting out alive. The house that initially blew was not the Longworth’s home but the one next door. The explosion was so massive that it unfortunately took the Longworth’s along with it. The home that did explode was sitting empty that night.
I have collected some of the larger, more visibly clear photos both during and after the explosion and fire. Then through the magic of Google Maps, I have taken screenshots of both the street view and aerial view for comparison. The street view was completed in 2007, so naturally the trees are quite a bit smaller as the neighborhood was not very old at that time. The Google aerial images are more recent. It listed 2012 although I am unsure if that only applied to the Google Maps copyright date, or the date the satellite took the images.
I’m not sure why, but I have been completely absorbed with this explosion. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is because I’m originally from Indiana and lived in Indianapolis for several years – and I do miss this city. But there’s more to it than just that. The massive damage seems to me to be rather unusual for a home gas explosion in regards to the overall damage. The fire which erupted was a very hot fire which is clearly visible in the photos below. I searched around on the internet for photos of other homes which were leveled after a natural gas explosion, and out of the ones that I found, none of them took down any of their neighbor’s homes. Some damage to the siding of the homes next door, but that was about it. I am probably reading way too much into this tragedy….
What would have made this explosion, if indeed it was gas, so intensely hot and destructive?
((NOTE, Post-publishing: I am reading too much into this. I just went to Wikipedia’s page about gas explosions and there is a list of explosions much worse than this. CSI, I am not.))
((UPDATE Monday, 11/12/2012: It appears that the authorities are currently unable to determine what caused this explosion. There were no reports of gas leaks and it looks as though natural gas is being ruled out. So I wasn’t being overly suspicious. They’re all working on finding the cause. Meth lab and bomb have also been ruled out.))
To best see these images, please click on the first one (or any of them) and they will show in full size in the shadowbox. You may toggle your way through.
Here are some photos of other homes that were demolished due to natural. Pay special attention to the homes right next door. This isn’t saying that a gas explosion cannot be as horrible or intense as the one Saturday in Indianapolis. For the fire to be that large and hot, then I would think the gas had to build up for quite some time. Hours perhaps. I would have hoped someone walking by would be able to smell that amount of gas. It does not take much in the air to know that odor.
The next three photos were from a home that exploded in Castle Rock Colorado. Four people, including the children, were home and all made it out alive.
Here is another home leveled by a natural gas explosion in Westville NJ. Again, house right next door is still standing.
Also, check out this video of another gas explosion in Northeast Philadelphia. You cannot make out any of the surrounding damage, but the fireball was intense!
Sources and references:
NBC News: Two killed, homes destroyed in huge Indianapolis explosions
WTHR Indpls Channel 13 News: Two killed, homes flattened in south Indianapolis explosion
Chicago Tribune: Photo gallery
FOX News: At least 2 dead, other minor injuries reported after explosion at Indianapolis home sets others ablaze in neighborhood
LA Times: Indianapolis house explosion kills two, destroys neighborhood
WISH TV 8 Indianapolis: Greenwood teacher killed in explosion
Yahoo! News: Indy residents describe blast, fire that killed 2
FOX 31 Denver: Photos: Castle Rock woman, 4 adopted kids escape explosion that leveled home
ABC 6 New Jersey: House Destroyed By Explosion In NJ