Madisonville, KY – Authorities suspect natural gas in Madisonville, Ky., blast

By JOHN LUCAS, Courier & Press Western Kentucky

An explosion and fire leveled a Madisonville home Tuesday morning and damaged two adjacent houses.

Linda Fronk, who works with a mining-related construction company, was on her way to Central City, Ky., when she learned about 9 a.m. her house was ablaze. “I’m thinking when I get home, they’ll have it out,” said Fronk, who instead found streets to her 227 Midway Ave. residence blocked with fire trucks and emergency and utility vehicles from across southern Hopkins County.

Fronk’s frame house was reduced to a pile of ashes above the foundation with only a few charred timbers, burned-out appliances and a small pickup truck on what had been a carport. Grass and plants across her lot were shriveled brown from the flames.

The heat melted vinyl shutters on Steve and Kaye Tyson’s house on one side of Fronk’s and set the attic of 76-year-old Dorothy Scott’s home on the opposite side ablaze. Scott, who lived alone and has asthma and difficulty walking, escaped without injury although her home was heavily damaged.

The foam-covered rubble continued to smolder Tuesday afternoon, and investigators had yet to determine the cause of the fire. A natural gas explosion is suspected.

“It sounded like somebody set off dynamite,” said Steve Tyson. “It shook the walls.”

The Tysons were in their kitchen at the rear of their home when the explosion occurred, and flames were shooting through the roof of Fronk’s house by the time they got out of theirs. Fronk’s house was gone in five minutes, Tyson said.