Indianapolis, IN — As Sunday dawned, it became clear that the extent of the damage from Saturday’s mysterious explosion was even worse than originally anticipated. When firefighters responded to reports of a house fire on Saturday night, they arrived to find an entire neighborhood engulfed in flames. As many as 70 firefighters ultimately reported to the scene.
By Sunday afternoon, splintered wood and charred ground were all that remained of some homes at the center of the blast. Neighboring houses were blackened shells. All across the neighborhood, homes bore scars of the fiery blast.
Deputy Code Enforcement Director Adam Collins said as many as 31 homes were damaged so badly they would potentially have to be demolished. The explosion damaged a total of 80 homes, he said. Collins estimated the total damage at $3.6 million.
Bryan and Trina McClellan were at home with their son, 23-year-old Eric, when the blast shook their house. Windows along one side of their house shattered in the explosion, as the grandparents ran to the basement where their two grandchildren were. The two toddlers were unharmed, although reportedly one was holding his ears, saying, “Loud noise, loud noise.”
After the explosion, Eric McClellan said he ran to the scene, only to be shooed away by firefighters. He commented that at the scene of the explosion, he saw homes “flat or nearly so.”
Many residents evacuated to a nearby school before taking shelter with family, friends, or in hotels for the night. A local animal boarding facility offered to keep pets for free for owners who had no where to take them. A local church immediately recruited hundreds of volunteers. By Sunday afternoon, a church dining area was filled with tables laden with food, clothes, blankets, and diapers.
Some residents were allowed to return to their homes with police escorts. Some were allowed to return alone, although they will remain without power for the time being. Other will never be allowed to return to their damaged homes.
There is still no official word on what caused the blast that took out so many homes, but officials have ruled out a bomb or meth lab. Officials have announced two deaths, but their names have not been released to the public.