MADISION, Ohio - Investigators in Madison, Ohio, are getting closer to finding out what triggered an explosion that leveled one home and damaged several others over the weekend.
Madison Fire Chief Gene Lutz told NewsChannel5 the blast was not caused by arson, and said the gas meter from the home will be tested as a possible cause in the coming days.
Dominion East Ohio Gas has already confirmed all gas supply lines in the neighborhood were free of leaks.
The home was not occupied. Madison fire officials said the homeowner had passed away last summer, and the home had been locked up since then.
Neighbors report the home had fallen into foreclosure, and they are concerned the house was not being secured properly over the past couple of months.
"The financial companies and the banks need to keep tabs on their properties," said neighbor Paul Fiederer. "There's and empty house across the street from me too, and the kids are vandalizing it."
Fire Chief Lutz is looking into the possibility that the house may have been victimized by burglars who caused a gas leak while try to strip the house of its piping.
Dominion Spokesman Neil Durbin issued the following statement when considering gas service shut-off at a vacant home:
"In cases of a vacant property resulting from the death of a customer, the property owner or family is responsible for contacting Dominion East Ohio, at 1-800-362-7557, weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to have service disconnected if they so desire."
"However, when contacted, we would request a copy of the death certificate from the surviving family. We would have to receive it before we could turn off service for the deceased account holder."
"Please keep in mind, that often families of deceased customers may wish to maintain service at that property to prevent pipes from freezing during the winter."
No one was injured in the explosion, but one house next to the leveled home may be a total loss after the force of the blast moved the home off its foundation.
Residents are encouraged to report any suspicious activities they see at vacant homes in their neighborhood, to their police department, to their city council member or to their mayor's office.
Stay with NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com for the very latest information on this developing investigation.
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