Clarion, PA- The Clarion News -A malfunctioning hot water tank may have caused the massive home explosion Monday afternoon in Clarion Borough, an official said Tuesday.

No one was inside the 60 Helena Court home of Fran Shope at the time of the blast.

“We believe it was accidental due to a faulty hot water tank or a stove” in the basement of the home, Clarion police Chief Mark Hall said.

He said that is based on the continuing investigation by a state police fire marshal unit and his department.

Also assisting were representatives of National Fuel and insurance personnel.

Fire marshal Michael McCracken said the combined total value of the house, attached garage, vehicle and contests is estimated at $500,000.

Shope, 73, had been staying in Florida for the winter and a neighbor was watching over the residence in the Troese housing development off Main Street.

The neighbor had with the homeowner’s knowledge turned the switch on the tank from vacation to hot on Saturday evening, Hall said.

He said investigators believe there was a malfunction and the gas then built up over about a 42-hour period.

Officials plan to run lab tests on the tank itself.

No other properties in the immediate vicinity were damaged by the flying debris from the explosion.