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Cause of Natural Gas Explosion Undetermined

Gas Explosion

The Springfield Fire Department has completed its investigation into the natural gas explosion that took place in November in northwest Springfield: the department was not able to determine the cause. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.

The explosion near west Chestnut Expressway was felt miles away. It completely leveled one home, and left six neighboring families homeless the week before Thanksgiving.

Randy Villines is the assistant fire chief. He says the owner of the house that exploded told investigators he had removed his water heater right before the explosion took place, and that he had shut the gas valve off. However, Villines says the shutoff valve to that water heater was found in the open position.

The fire department has determined that three possibilities remain.

"One is that the owner of the home accidentally left the valve open to where the water heater would be connected. Two is that he intentionally did so. Or three, someone entered the home after he left to purchase a new water heater and [they] had opened the gas valve,” Villines said. Fire officials say the ignition may have come from kerosene heaters in the home. Prosecutors will not be filing charges. However, the fire department said if it does eventually find that someone intentionally opened the gas valve, they could be charged with Causing Catastrophe—and that’s a Class A felony.The fire department is reminding residents that if your house needs work involving electricity of gas, it’s important to find someone with the right qualifications: a license to do the work, and the proper permit required.

The homeowner could not be reached for comment.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.

Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder Photo credit: Alex Crowder