‘Open gas line’ in kitchen caused explosion

September 7, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – An open gas line led to an explosion that leveled a home in the Eastport neighborhood Sunday morning, and damaged several other homes and vehicles in the area.

The blast occurred about 9:15 a.m. in the 400 block of Pleasant Avenue. Michigan City firefighters were called to a report of a fire and possible explosion, according to spokesman Tony Drzewiecki.

The first unit on the scene found a fire in the home at 436 Pleasant, and the home next door at 426 Pleasant.

“The residence at 436 Pleasant was collapsed and the roof of the house was lying on the ground, along with debris from the explosion that was scattered throughout the neighborhood,” he said in a statement.

On Thursday, Drzewiecki confirmed what most of the residents of the area had suspected – the explosion was caused by gas.

“The cause was natural gas,” he said. “There was an open line in the kitchen.”

The line was apparently left open after someone removed an appliance, he said. “Now it’s being investigated why there was an open line.”

NIPSCO spokeswoman Mary Cossey said the utility company “immediately dispatched crews” to turn off the gas and make sure the area was safe.

The fire in the home at 426 Pleasant was on the north side of the house, which was adjacent to 436 Pleasant.

“The fires were quickly put out and under control within minutes of arrival,” Drzewiecki said.

The roof of the home had blown into the yard and front of the home directly across the street.

No injuries were reported and the residence at 436 Pleasant, where the explosion occurred, was vacant at the time, he said.

Cossey said the property was a rental unit that was recently vacated.

Fire Chief Randy Novak, who was on scene moments after the initial call, said: “We are very lucky that this incident happened early Sunday morning as no one was out and about in the neighborhood.

“The area is a heavily populated residential area with children and many residents typically outside.”

Several homes adjacent to the property sustained structural damage, and windows in several homes and many cars up to a block away from the blast site were blown out.

No damage estimate was available as of Thursday afternoon, he said.

The Michigan City Fire and Police departments, ATF, State Fire Marshal, and NIPSCO continue to investigate.

—From staff reports

Update hourly