The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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January 7, 2013

Blast levels home

Madison neighbors thankful that nobody was hurt



Barchok said items in his garage, which is located directly next to the garage at 1518 Parkview Place, were knocked out of place. The clock and spice rack in his house, along with several pieces of his wife’s china, fell to the floor.

An army of Dominion Gas employees, along with firefighters, were on the scene Sunday morning to investigate the cause of the explosion. Lutz said it would probably be several days before the investigation into the cause of the fire is complete.

Max Anderson, a Madison Township police officer and a Madison Township trustee, was called to the scene Sunday morning.

“First of all I’m glad nobody got hurt,” he said. Anderson said an Ohio Highway Patrol “reconstruction” team was on site early in the morning to help in the investigation process.

Lutz said the fire department received several calls from neighbors after the explosion. Firefighters from Perry, Leroy, Geneva and Harpersfield, assisted at the scene.

Lutz said arson dogs were brought to the scene but there was no sign of accelerants. He said investigators were going step by step to eliminate potential causes of the blast.

The three-bedroom rental home was unoccupied, as the tenant died in July, Lutz said.

The owners said no one had been in the house in months and they had not noticed anything amiss.

A girl, 12, said she saw a man in a black coat leave the house at noon on Saturday. She said she noticed the man “locking the door behind him” on Friday, too.

“I didn’t think much of it,” she said.

Debris was littered over the street and several surrounding properties with yellow caution tape blocking portions of a two block radius.

“It’s a disaster inside. It looks like it (the house) may be off the foundation,” Sency said of her home.

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