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Officials seek cause of deadly Indianapolis blast

November 12, 2012|By Michael Muskal

Local and federal officials on Monday were trying to determine what had caused an explosion that demolished parts of an Indianapolis neighborhood and killed two people over the weekend.

The Saturday night blast created an explosion that was so powerful that the destruction spread for blocks, and hundreds of people were forced to flee their Richmond Hill neighborhood. The explosion rocked several homes from their foundations and jarred people three miles away, officials said.

Nothing has been ruled out, Indianapolis public safety director Troy Riggs said Monday morning. Investigators were talking with utility companies and others as they tried to determine the cause.

“We need to make sure that we get some of the forensics back and that we follow where the evidence takes us,” Riggs told WISH-TV.

Riggs said police officers and investigators would continue to search and secure the neighborhood Monday.

“It could take some time. We've asked people to be patient,” Riggs told WRTV.

Citizens Energy had received no calls from people in the area smelling the rotten eggs odor of a chemical added to natural gas, which is odorless, utility spokesman Dan Considine told the Associated Press.

“Most of the time when there's a gas leak, people smell it,” he said. “But not always.”

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who represents the area, has said he had been told a bomb or meth lab explosion had been ruled out. He said the National Transportation Safety Board and the federal Department of Transportation, which have oversight over pipelines, were sending investigators.

Deputy Code Enforcement Director Adam Collins said 80 homes were damaged, including 31 that might need to be demolished. He estimated the damage at $3.6 million.

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