Richfield, MO- What is presumed to have been a natural gas explosion destroyed the home at 7615 11th Ave. S. in Richfield on Thursday.

As Mohammed Juma stood near the crater that had been a Richfield home until it was leveled Thursday, he said he hadn’t felt such a strong explosion since the 1965 conflict between India and Pakistan.

“It was huge,” said Juma, who was home when what is believed to be a natural gas explosion destroyed Dennis Kleven’s home, at 7615 11th Ave. S. in Richfield, with a force that damaged most of Juma’s north wall and sparked a fire that severely damaged two bedrooms.

The last time Juma felt a similar blast, he lived in Karachi, Pakistan during one of several armed conflicts between that south Asian country and its larger neighbor, India.

On Thursday, an explosion blamed on natural gas that somehow ignited in the home of Kleven, who was away from home at the time, destroyed the house, which he purchased for $199,900 in early 2005.

In the aftermath, officials with the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety, state fire marshal’s office and Richfield Fire Department are charged with combing through the debris and determining what sparked the home explosion.

Standing near at the edge of a taped-off area surrounding the exposed foundation of Kleven’s home, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ron Rahman surveyed the scene and said, “What a mess,” before returning to work in what had been the basement.

Brad Sveum, the chief of the Richfield fire department currently heading the investigation of the explosion, said, “It does appear to have all the earmarks of a natural gas explosion.”

But, Sveum was quick to add, “There is much information that has to be put together.”

In the end, it will likely be several months before an official cause of the explosion is determined.

The blast charred the southwest corner of the home’s foundation, indicating that the explosion could have started in that part of the basement, which is less than 10 feet from the north wall of Juma’s house.

Sveum said that wall sustained heavy fire damage, and that Richfield fire crews pulled all the siding off Juma’s home at 7621 11th Ave. S. to make sure the residence was safe.

It marks at least the third Twin Cities home be leveled by a natural gas explosion. The previous two homes, located in Edina and St. Paul, respectively, exploded and burned in February.