Hanover, IN- By David McArthur, WAVE3 -Four people were rushed to area hospitals Monday afternoon when the mobile home they in exploded without warning. We’re told the family was just moving into the home in Hanover, Indiana. WAVE 3’s David McArthur has the latest.
The victims have been identified as Ronnie King Senior and his adult son, Ronnie King Junior, along with 14-year-old Darren Bachelor, and Leslie Hiete from Cincinnati.
The mobile home exploded about 5 o’clock Monday, Oct. 25th. Fire investigators say the family was moving in and was in the process of turning on utilities when it exploded.
The force of the explosion left the victims with burns on 35 to 75 percent of their bodies. The explosion and resulting fire also damaged other nearby mobile homes.
John Keeton with the Hanover Fire Department said two of the victims were taken to Louisville hospitals and two were taken to a burn unit in Cincinnati. “All are in critical condition at this time,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe they walked out of it,” said Randy McCullough, who was walking near the porch. “I saw the trailer moving, out of the corner of my eye. I hit the ground, the porch hit my arm. I got up running.”
Keeton says it appears the family was in the process of moving into the structure when it blew up. “They were in the moving process, there’s a truck over here that still had some furniture.”
McCullough’s wife, Connie said “It sounded like a trailer had been dropped or a bomb had gone off.”
James Brierley lives next door. “I was sitting watching TV and I opened up the curtain,” he said. “She just blew out the side. I don’t see how anybody came out alive.”
Keeton says the electricity was on in the mobile home at the time of the explosion, but the natural gas was not.
Keeton says a propane tank had just been filled and turned on before the explosion. “We’ve been told that there was a possible leak, maybe some propane,” Keeton said. “We’re looking into that. We can’t rule out anything at this time.”
McCullough remember smelling gas, but says the propane tank “was just filled and I thought it was normal. Mr. King said he was going in to try and light the stoves. I told him the gas man said everything was fine.”
Investigators say it’s still too early to confirm the ignition point as the electric stove, but do confirm a gas leak. They’re calling the explosion accidental.