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1 dead after NW Indiana home explodes

Updated: September 10, 2013 7:23AM

LOWELL, Ind. -- A man was killed when a home exploded Monday evening in a remote subdivision surrounded by Northwest Indiana farm country.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion is still in its infancy. So far, however, there has been no cause for suspicion, said Clint Gorball, chief of the Lowell volunteer fire department.

About 7:30 p.m. Monday, over 100 first responders from 12 fire departments descended on the area, which lies just east of Lowell and about 30 miles south of Gary, Ind.

“There was not much left of the house that exploded” when fire crews arrived at the home in the 7100 block of East 181st Avenue, Gorball said.

Shortly before the house exploded the owner contacted a neighbor, who was asked to check on the residence, Gorball said.

That man, believed to be in his 40s, was inside when it exploded, Gorball said. The neighbor, who was not identified by authorities early Tuesday, was killed by the blast.

“There was a neighbor that had entered (the home) at the request of the property owner to check out the house for some unknown reason,” Gorball said. No one else was injured.

While fire spread to a neighboring home, miraculously that house and another home were not seriously damaged, said Gorball, who described both residences as “habitable.”

“There was a little fire in the house to the west,” Gorball said. The “property to the east had some broken windows boarded up.”

Because the homes are in an area without fire hydrants, crews had to truck in water. But by about 9:30 p.m. the blaze was under control, Gorball said.

Investigators will return to the scene in the morning to continue their search for a cause.

“We don’t have any reason to believe it was suspicious,” Gorball said. “But it’s too early to really rule anything out.”


Twitter: @BrianSlodysko

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