For Immediate Release
Nov. 19, 2009 Explosion Investigation Completed
The Springfield Fire Department has completed its investigation and final report on the explosion that occurred Nov. 19, 2009, at 2550 W. Chestnut St.
After talking to the witnesses and examining the scene, the cause of the explosion and resulting fire was ruled undetermined. The shutoff valve to the gas meter was in the open position, and the shutoff valve to the disconnected water heater was in the open position. Natural gas from the open valve flowed into the living area of the residence until the lower explosive limit was reached. A possible ignition source was kerosene heaters.
Three possibilities remain:
- The owner of the home forgot to close the gas shutoff valve to the water heater prior to disconnecting it.
- The owner intentionally left the gas valve open, hoping to cause damage to his house in order collect insurance money.
- Someone else entered the house after the owner left and opened the gas valve.
Because the evidence found is not sufficient enough to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors have declined to file charges in the case. If it is found that someone intentionally opened the gas valve, they could be charged with Causing Catastrophe, a Class A felony.
For more information, contact: Assistant Fire Chief Randy Villines, (417) 864-1500.