The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 11, 2013

Meth didn’t cause Madison house explosion

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

MADISON TOWNSHIP —  Fire investigators know what didn’t cause the explosion at a Madison Township home Sunday, but are still working on what did caused it.

The house on Parkview Place exploded at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, blowing glass and debris across the neighborhood and damaging at least five other homes.

No one was injured, but tremors were felt by people as far away as Saybrook Township.

Rumors have swirled in Madison in the days following the explosion as residents guessed on the cause of the blast.

“This explosion was not caused by a meth lab,” said Madison Fire Chief Gene Lutz said. “That is the biggest rumor or guess out there. There was no meth lab.”

Lutz said the gas lines in the house were accounted for, eliminating the theory that someone had stolen the copper piping from the house, allowing for a natural gas leak.

“All the pipes were there,” he said.

Lutz said Dominion East Ohio Gas employees and engineers tested the gas lines to the neighborhood and found no problems, meaning the cause of the explosion is isolated to the destroyed house and not to the service lines.

Now Lutz is working with the homeowner’s insurance company as they conduct tandem investigations, including testing the home’s natural gas meter.

“I can’t just go in there and disturb evidence,” Lutz said. “We have to work together on this and it will take time.”

Lutz said he doesn’t suspect arson. Accelerant-detecting dogs were brought to the scene immediately, but found no sign of foul play.

“But as we go through this process, we will work to eliminate all other possible causes of this explosion before we begin to consider arson,” he said. “Right now everything is still just undetermined.”