Rapid City, SD – Fire authorities concluded this week that the early morning March 14 blast that destroyed a Rapid City business was accidental, traced to leaky natural gas equipment.
The explosion, just after midnight, nearly leveled Midwest Clutch & Auto Body, at 128 East Main Street North. At the time, no one was in the
surrounding area or at the shop, where the roof and exterior walls collapsed. Owner Allan Schauer of Rapid City has since had the remains of
the building demolished.
Fire department spokesman Mark Kirchgesler said there was no evidence of arson or foul play. He said natural gas supplier Montana-Dakota Utilities
and Schauer’s insurance company are still trying to determine the cause of one specific faulty piece of equipment that may have been leaking the gas.
The shop, adjoining the Pennington County Search & Rescue building, formerly was Lowell’s Service Station. East Main Street North is between Main and Omaha streets and Maple and Steele avenues, near South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.