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Static Electricity May have Ignited Gas Explosion Which
Destroys 4 Homes in Indiana

by Jennifer L. Hazen
December 3, 2002
This fire was first reported by Associated Press:

Thu Nov 28, 9:36 AM - LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A construction crew damaged a natural gas pipe causing an enormous leak and the destruction of 4 homes in a violent exposion. Four persons were injured in the disaster. Thankfully none were injured seriously. The four people were treated and released at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

Fire Chief Jim Morrow said authorities didn't know what ignited the gas, adding,"It could have been static electricity off the carpet or answering a telephone."

Jessie Sewell (a neighborhood resident) said a gas smell permeated the area before the first explosion. "You just don't know how bad the gas smell was," she said. "The gas was so thick, you could see it."

Residents were evacuated by police for several blocks, along with students and staff from an elementary school. By evening they were allowed to return to their homes. A child and one adult had to be rescued from the basement of one of the demolished houses.

Police said that a crew installing a traffic signal had hit a gas line. At least two explosions rocked the area about 20 minutes later, and two more followed over the next couple of hours.





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