The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 7, 2013

Natural gas lines not cause of Madison blast

Star Beacon

MADISON TOWNSHIP —  Natural gas lines were not the cause of the explosion that rocked a Madison Township neighborhood early Sunday morning, Madison Fire Chief Gene Lutz said Monday.

The cause of the explosion, which destroyed a house on Parkview Place and damaged several neighboring houses, is still a mystery, he said.

Lutz said Dominion East Ohio Gas employees and engineers tested the gas lines to the neighborhood and found no problems.

“The issue is all isolated to the one house,” he said.

The next step, Lutz said, is to test the home’s natural gas meter.

“I have the meter here with me now and it is the next thing to be tested,” he said.

Lutz said he will personally take the meter for pressure testing and will video record the testing process for evidentiary reasons.

“We are going through everything one piece at a time. This is a testing process,” Lutz said.

There is a pile of rubble that used to be a house at 1518 Parkview Place. The home exploded at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, damaging several surrounding homes and structures and blowing glass and debris throughout the neighborhood.

An entire wall of the destroyed house slammed into the home next door. Other properties sustained damage to garages, awnings, windows and siding.

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

The three-bedroom rental house was unoccupied at the time of the blast. The owners of the home said no one has been on the property in months.

Lutz said arson-detecting dogs were brought to the scene immediately, but found no sign of accelerants.