Cleveland, OH – An explosion in a Cleveland house that left at least 15 families homeless and 50 homes damaged was suspected to be due to a natural gas leak, neighbors said.
Monday’s blast destroyed the 100-year-old colonial-style house and left debris throughout the neighborhood, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.
Dominion East Ohio Gas spokesman Larry Durbin and Cleveland Fire Department spokesman Larry Gray declined to comment on the cause of the blast, the newspaper said.
Next-door neighbor Bill Calderwood’s house caught fire from the explosion as he was out walking his dog.
“I’ve been complaining to the city about this place ever since someone broke in the place in June and stole copper wiring and pipes. In fact, I called the gas company Friday because I smelled gas — and now this,” said Calderwood.
The house had been vacant for two years, the newspaper said.
City Councilman Matt Zone said the city had been trying to get the house condemned and that he heard the gas company could not locate the shut-off valve when it went to the house Friday.
“Why couldn’t Dominion shut the gas off? If vandals did damage those lines, we’ll find out who they are,” Zone said.
Gray said three females and a male were taken to the hospital for minor injuries