Port Orchard, WA – PORT ORCHARD Two people are dead following an early morning explosion that leveled a Port Orchard home Tuesday morning.
Kitsap County sheriffs investigators said two sets of human remains were found in the rubble of the homes bedroom, but their identities have not been confirmed. The sheriffs office said they are believed to be the homes owners, identified as William McDonald, 70, and his wife, Maria McDonald, 65.
Confirmation of the identities will be made by the Kitsap County Coroners Office, said sheriffs Deputy Scott Wilson.
Meanwhile, fire officials continue to investigate the cause of the fiery blast that sent pieces of the triple-wide manufactured home over a wide area, shattered neighbors windows and was detected by seismograms.
Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam said it will take several days for investigators to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Its going to be a tough investigation, he said. Pieces that were in the house are literally scattered over an acre.
Guy Dalrymple, deputy fire chief for South Kitsap Fire and Rescue, said the McDonalds home was heated with propane. Investigators found the propane tank intact, but leaking fuel could have caused the blast, he said.
From the way the debris was scattered, it appears the explosion was centered in the middle of the home, Dalrymple said.
Wilson said detectives have all but ruled out homicide as a cause of the explosion.
Investigators had spent the morning searching for the McDonalds, even bringing in cadaver dogs to sniff through the widespread debris.
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Just before 9 a.m., a woman parked hurriedly near the home and tore out of her car, crying and saying, No, no, no, no. She got a child from the back seat and started walking toward the home.
She was greeted by a sheriffs deputy and walked toward the home.
Are my parents alive? Are they in the hospital? she said as she was led away.
Other families arrived at the property later in the morning.
The explosion shook the neighborhood and damaged several nearby homes and structures, Wilson said.
Neighbor Mona Lumsden said the neighbors cars appeared to be in their driveway.
Im worried about them, she said tearfully.
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She said the McDonalds had moved into the home about seven years ago.
Lumsden said the force of the explosion knocked a picture off the wall over her bed and threw her son from his bed.
Another neighbor, Lynn Soholt, said it blew out two windows of his shop and two windows in his house about a quarter-mile away.
Terrible thing, he said after walking down the street to see what could be seen near the leveled home.
He said homes in the area are heated with propane, electric heaters and wood stoves.
Wilson said hundreds of calls came into the Kitsap dispatch center shortly after 4:10 a.m. reporting a loud, forceful explosion near the 3500 block of Southeast Soholt Lane, south of Port Orchard.
First responders arrived to find the home leveled, on fire and turned into Popsicle sticks, Wilson said.
Firefighters put out the blaze.
Several windows were blown out on the south side of Mullenix Ridge Elementary School, which is just north of the home. The pressure from the blast also caused parts of the buildings sprinkler system to drop from the ceiling, according to an email from South Kitsap School District Superintendent Michelle Reid to district staff.
The school building is safe to enter and classes are being held as usual, Reid wrote.
Kitsap authorities have requested assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is standard in explosions of this size.
Bob Calkins, of Kitsap County Search and Rescue, was among those who brought cadaver dogs to search the rubble.
He said his dog, 10-year-old Magnum, pinpoints areas for firefighters to search. He did not say whether Magnum had hit on any scents at the site of explosion.
The blast sent sound waves across the Puget Sound region for several minutes. The waves were detected by a handful of area seismograms, said John Vidale, the director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.
We see a pretty sharp pop all the way to Lake Washington, to the west and down to Tacoma, he said.
Vidale said people many miles away probably could have heard the explosion.
It would be a low rumble, a pretty low frequency, he said. In this area, we havent seen this kind of signal for a while.