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Investigation Continues Into Decatur House Explosion

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014, 03:12 PM CDT


A pile of charred wood, broken gutters, shattered glass and shingles.. that's what is left of a home on North Monroe in Decatur, after a gas leak caused the house to explode on Friday.

Neighbor Clementine Rueff was home at the time of the blast, two doors down.

"There was this big boom. The house shook. It was so bad I was afraid it was a bomb," she said. The destroyed home's antenna is stuck in her siding.

As neighbors wait for insurance adjusters, fire investigators are working to find out what caused the gas leak; but they admit there's a chance we'll never know.

"The reason why it may be hard for us to pinpoint what the actual cause was is because the amount of damage. It's unstable for us to be going through the debris right now, so in that aspect, we're not going to put anybody in harms way to try and figure out what caused this," said Deputy Chief Jeff Abbott.

One possible cause investigators have seen in the past, is a gas leak caused after people steal copper from the gas line.

"We're not ruling anything out," Abbott said.

A nearby resident told authorities she smelled gas hours before the explosion but didn't report it. Fire officials say the explosion is a good example of why you should always report smelling natural gas.

"Natural gas is very dangerous and it's very explosive, especially in the right mixture between air and gas. Once you have the right air and gas mixture, it's looking for an ignition source. That could be a water heater kicking on, somebody smoking a cigarette, turning on a light switch.. so if you smell gas, it's very important you call somebody - Ameren, the fire department," Abbott said.

Investigators still have several interviews to do with neighbors and the home's owner, who lives out of state. They tell us it will be his responsibility to clean up what's left the house once the investigation is complete.

Investigation Continues Into Decatur House Explosion

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