Home explosion in Evansville, Indiana, kills 3 and damages 39 homes:

Emergency crews respond to a home explosion Wednesday in Evansville, Ind. (MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP)

MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

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MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

Home explosion in Evansville Indiana kills 3 and damages 39

Emergency crews respond to a home explosion Wednesday in Evansville, Ind. (MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP)

MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Three people were killed when a home exploded in the southern Indiana town of Evansville on Wednesday, authorities said.

David Anson, deputy chief coroner for Vanderburgh County, told The Associated Press that the identities of those who died would not be released until next of kin are notified.

Evansville Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Gray said at least one other injury was reported and the victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said a total of 39 homes were damaged by the blast around 1 p.m. He said the department did not confirm how many homes were occupied when the blast happened because “some were too unstable to enter.”

At least 11 of the 39 damaged homes are “uninhabitable”, Connelly told the Evansville Mail and Press.

The cause of the explosion has not been determined, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating. A telephone message seeking comment was left at the ATF’s Evansville field office.

“Debris is strewn over a 100-foot radius,” including “typical building materials” such as planks of wood, window panes and insulation, Connelly said.

1660232155 548 Home explosion in Evansville Indiana kills 3 and damages 39

Emergency crews respond to an explosion at a Wednesday home on North Weinbach Avenue in Evansville, Ind., Wednesday.

MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

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MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

1660232155 618 Home explosion in Evansville Indiana kills 3 and damages 39

Emergency crews respond to an explosion at a Wednesday home on North Weinbach Avenue in Evansville, Ind., Wednesday.

MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

Aerial video posted to social media shows damage to a residential neighborhood with police and fire vehicles at the scene in Evansville, on the Kentucky border.

CenterPoint Energy, the local gas utility, was last called home in January 2018, Connelly said. CenterPoint released a statement saying it “worked with first responders to secure the area.”

“CenterPoint Energy is working closely with the Evansville Fire Department, State Fire Marshal and other agencies as the investigation into this incident continues,” the utility said.

Jacki Baumgart, office manager at Award World Trophys, about two and a half blocks from the site of the explosion, said she and other employees in their building panicked when they heard the loud explosion and saw smoke.

“We thought a tree had fallen on the building or a car had hit the place,” Baumgart said. “Debris from the ceiling fell.”

She continued: “Everyone here immediately ran out of the building. We thought the building was going to collapse.”

It was the second home explosion in the area in just over five years. A house explosion on June 27, 2017 killed two people and injured three.

Wednesday’s blast was also reminiscent of a massive explosion in 2012 that destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes on the south side of Indianapolis and killed two people. A man has been found guilty of tampering with a natural gas line at the home of his then-girlfriend in an attempt to commit insurance fraud after the explosion killed two neighbours. This man, his half-brother and his girlfriend were all sentenced to long prison terms.

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