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Two dead in Indianapolis explosion. 18 homes leveled or damaged.

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AP:

A roaring explosion that leveled two homes and set two others ablaze in a huge fire forced about 200 people from a devastated Indianapolis neighborhood where at least two people werr killed, authorities said Sunday. The powerful nighttime blast shattered windows, crumpled walls and inflicted other damage on at least 14 other homes. 

Two people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after the explosion and fire, said Lieut. Bonnie Hensley, with the Indianapolis Fire Department. She said firefighters later put out the flames and searchers then went through the rubble and damaged homes one at a time in case others were left behind. At least one body has been recovered.

Some witnesses said in televised reports that they heard people screaming “help me! help me!” after the explosion and fire and that two parents and two children were safely pulled from one house that caught fire.

“This looks like a war zone; it really does,” Hensley told The Associated Press. “Police officers and fire department officials remain at the scene searching for other possible victims.” She said they used search lights until dawn as they peered into the damaged and ruined homes.

She declined to identify the only confirmed fatality, saying only that the body was found in one of the leveled homes after the fire was put out. Fire officials told AP after daybreak that they were not immediately releasing any further information until later Sunday morning. 

The explosion at 11 p.m. Saturday destroyed two houses that were side by side and spread fire to two other nearby homes in the neighborhood on the south side of Indianapolis, she said, adding at least 14 other homes were damaged in the area by the blast’s shock wave or flying debris it kicked up.

The blast was heard for miles all around, and authorities said they had no immediate information on the cause. An investigation by fire and other agencies was under way. Reports said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also was involved. 

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