A house explosion left one man dead in eastern Ohio, authorities said Wednesday.
Tuscarawas County coroner Dr. James Hubert said the man who died in the explosion Tuesday night in the village of Newcomerstown is believed to have been alone in the home. Hubert said tests will be needed to confirm his identity.
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the blast, state fire marshal’s spokesman William Krugh said. He said no other details were immediately available.
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Blaze: The house that exploded in the village of Newcomerstown became engulfed in flames (pictured)
Debris was strewn about as emergency crews worked at the scene of a fatal house explosion on Wednesday
Columbia Gas Co. said in a statement that it believed natural gas was involved but also noted the investigation wasn’t complete. It later said it had confirmed the safety of its facilities in the area and that its investigation indicated ‘our facilities that serve the community did not contribute to the incident.’ A message seeking further clarification was left for a Columbia Gas spokesman.
In a Wednesday statement to 10TV, Columbia Gas said: ‘Columbia Gas of Ohio was called to the scene at 540 Beaver Street in Newcomerstown, Ohio. The first priority for our crews at the scene was to ensure the safety of our customers and the community by completing safety checks on our system.
‘While we believe natural gas was involved in the incident, the circumstances leading up to and ultimately causing the incident are still being investigated. At this time, there is no indication that Columbia’s system is at fault.
State fire marshal’s spokesman William Krugh says investigators are trying to determine what caused the blast. He said no other details were immediately available
Tuscarawas County coroner Dr. James Hubert said the man who died in the explosion Tuesday night in the village of Newcomerstown is believed to have been alone in the home. Hubert said tests will be needed to confirm his identity
‘Columbia Gas will continue to work with authorities investigating the incident. We understand that our customers and those affected by the incident want answers about the cause of the incident, as do we. Time is needed to conduct a thorough investigation to understand the circumstances that lead to, as well as the actual cause of, the incident.’
Lanny Warner, who lives two houses down from the one that was destroyed, told The (Dover-New Philadelphia) Times-Reporter: ‘I was sitting here eating and all of a sudden my house started shaking and I was like “Oh my God, what happened.”
‘I ran outside and saw sparks and stuff flying everywhere and the house was totally engulfed in flames and disintegrated really quick.
‘It was a heck of a blast. It rattled our windows and pictures fell off the walls.’
The Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools District canceled classes Wednesday due to debris on school property. Two schools near the explosion were checked for structural damage, and classes were expected to resume Thursday, the Times-Reporter said.