Cedar Lake, IN – By Pamela Lewis Dolan / Post-Tribune staff writer

An afternoon house explosion, at 11518 W. 133rd Ave. in Cedar Lake, had firefighters from around Lake County working into the night to fight the resulting blaze.

The call was received at 2:13 p.m. from the homeowner, who had just stepped outside and walked about 500 feet, then watched his two-story house get rocked off its foundation. The house then burned to the ground.

According to Cedar Lake Fire Chief Dennis Wilkening, the man reported smelling gas about three weeks ago. NIPSCO found a leak in the flex pipe going to the stove. The gas supply was then disconnected.

Wilkening said the pipe had not been replaced, and the homeowner claimed he hadn’t re-established the gas connection. The state fire marshall and representatives from NIPSCO are investigating.

With gas fueling the fire near the rear of the house, firefighters had no choice but to let the fire, near the gas source, burn out while trying to extinguish the fire elsewhere.

“It was a nightmare,” Wilkening said.

Firefighters were on scene for more than five hours.