Monday, November 12, 2012

Indianapolis Blast Destroys Homes and Sense of Safety

Indianapolis is always thought of as a safe city.  Crime is low, spirits generally high, especially when the Colts and the Pacers play well.  But a Saturday evening blast changed everything.  What is believed to be a natural gas explosion shook the south side of Indianapolis around 11 p.m. Saturday. A loud boom was heard and the concussion blew out windows and collapsed ceilings. A fire engulfed several homes. (Photo courtesy of A.P.)

31 homes were damaged so badly that they may have to be demolished. A total of 80 homes were damaged.  The estimated damage is $3.6 million. More importantly, two people lost their lives.  Greenwood's Southwest Elementary School second-grade teacher Jennifer Longworth and her husband John Dion Longworth perished in the explosion. Seven other people were taken to local hospitals with injuries.

Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon said that investigators haven't eliminated any possible causes for the blast. But U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, said that a bomb or meth lab explosion had been ruled out. Dan Considine, of Citizens Energy, responded to assumptions that the fire may have been caused by a natural gas leak by saying that there had been no reports of anyone smelling natural gas in the area. The National Transportation Safety Board and the federal Department of Transportation, which regulate pipelines, are also involved in the investigation.

Until more is known about the cause of the fire, the Indianapolis area will sleep a little less comfortably for the next few days.

11-20-2012 Update:  Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons announced a criminal investigation is underway. This is the first public acknowledgement by investigators of a possible criminal element to the Nov. 10 explosion.  There is a $10,000 reward offered for information concerning a white van that was seen in the subdivision on the day of the blast.  No suspects or arrests have been announced.

Randall Cable, an attorney representing Monserrate Shirley and Mark Leonard, who lived in that home that is believed to have exploded, seemed perplexed by the new direction of the investigation.What is believed to be a natural gas explosion caused an estimated $4.4 million in damage.


Anonymous said...

First Hurrican Sandy and now this. String of bad luck for the U.S.

Video Guy said...

No one complained about smelling gas before the explosion. If there was a rupture that caused the explosion and no one smelled it, that would mean the rupture itself caused a spark that caused the explosion…but the explosion would have not been that large and limited to igniting the gas immediately leaving the ruptured pipe.
It had to build up somewhere confined and not populated…like an abandon building. If true, than what ignited the gas?

Where was ground zero of this explosion?

A lot of these power and fuel corporations have been accused of cutting back on maintenance and waiting until something breaks before they fix it. This is to increase their bottom line for higher stock prices.
I’ll bet an investigation will lead to negligence on the part of the gas corporation…negligence in regards to preventive maintenance.

If the gas corporation’s attorneys start running around trying to settle with the victims before the investigation is complete…this would be a sign they know they are responsible.

Video Guy said...

Authorities launched a homicide investigation Monday into the house explosion that killed two people and left numerous homes uninhabitable in an Indianapolis neighborhood.
Search warrants have been executed and officials are now looking for a white van that was seen in the subdivision the day of the blast, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said. Federal authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
The co-owner of that house, John Shirley, told The Associated Press he had recently received a text message from his daughter saying the furnace in the home, which she shares with her mother and her mother's boyfriend, had gone out. Shirley's ex-wife, Monserrate Shirley, said her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, had replaced the thermostat recently and the furnace had resumed working.
She and her boyfriend were away at a casino at the time of the blast. The daughter was staying with a friend, and the family's cat was being boarded.


Anonymous said...

Don't know what to think about this one. Gas company trying to dodge civil liablity? Terrorist? Homocide?

Video Guy said...

Just in...
Shirley's story does sound pretty shady. According to the local newspaper, Shirley and her felon boyfriend Mark Leonard left town the weekend of the attack, boarded their cat and left Shirley's daughter with friends. There was also a strange truck parked in the house's driveway the day of the attack that later left. A few weeks before the explosion, the 47-year-old had her furnace serviced, which might explain why local authorities first blamed the explosion on a natural gas leak. Shirley had also tried to sell the house, valued at $230,000, earlier this year after she and her now ex-husband had filed for bankruptcy. The couple still owed $225,794 on the house, and the insurance company isn't talking.

Video Guy said...

Police won't say who they are questioning, but cell phone video captured by Brad Horton and his girlfriend Whitney Essex shows a SWAT team descending on a mobile home park in southwest Indianapolis.

"These people came in tanks with people on top of them," Essex told ABC News.

The couple says their neighbor Bob Leonard was led away for questioning. Leonard is the brother of Mark Leonard, who is dating Montserrate Shirley, who along with Mark Leonard, lives in the home that exploded.