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Fireground audio: Explosion & fire in Indianapolis that killed two & destroyed homes.

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Teresa Mackin, WISH-TV:

Hundreds gathered Sunday evening in Greenwood to remember one of their own.

Second grade teacher Jennifer Longworth and her husband Dion were the two victims of Saturday night’s tragic explosion on the city’s south side.

Jennifer Longworth taught at Southwest Elementary for twelve years, said co-workers Sunday.

Co-workers, friends, family, students and parents all gathered outside for a candlelight vigil.

They laid flowers and candles near the flagpole outside, and wrote messages to Mrs. Longworth on a poster board.

Rick Callahan & Charles Wilson, Associated Press:

Splintered beams and boards on a piece of charred earth were all that remained Sunday where three Indianapolis homes were leveled in a blast that killed two people and rendered homes for blocks uninhabitable.

A backhoe raked through the rubble in the middle-class subdivision as clusters of firefighters and rescue workers weary from a long, chaotic day that began late the night before waited for their next assignment.

The two-story, brick-faced homes on either side of those demolished by the blast were in ruins. One home’s roof was gone, a blackened husk left behind. On the other side of the gap, the side of a home was sheared off. Across the street, garage doors had buckled from the heat.

It wasn’t yet clear what caused the blast that shook the neighborhood at 11 p.m. Saturday. Residents described hearing a loud boom that blew out windows and collapsed ceilings. Some thought a plane had crashed or that it was an earthquake.

Teacher, husband remembered at vigil

Alex Pflanzer, who was asleep when the nearby homes were leveled, said he heard his wife screaming and thought someone was breaking into his house. Grabbing his gun, he checked the house and saw the front door was standing open.

“I walked outside and all the houses were on fire,” he said.

Pflanzer, his wife and two dogs were staying in a hotel room Sunday night. They were, however, without their cat, who refused to budge from the crawl space.

Deputy Code Enforcement Director Adam Collins said as many as 31 homes were damaged so badly that they may have to be demolished. The explosion damaged a total of 80 homes, he said. He estimated the damage at $3.6 million.

Some residents were allowed to return to their homes to retrieve a few belongings Sunday under police escort, officials said. Others whose homes weren’t as badly damaged were allowed to go home, but officials said they would have to do without electricity overnight.

Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon said investigators haven’t eliminated any possible causes for the blast. But U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who represents the area, said he had been told a bomb or meth lab explosion had been ruled out.

Along with the two people killed, seven people were taken to a hospital with injuries, Bacon said.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Retired Chief

    Sounded very organized for such a caotic situation on arrival.

  • FMCH

    Lot of confusion over name of street. They keep calling it Fairfield Way, when it’s actually FieldFare Way. It does sound “unnatural”, maybe that’s why.

  • Chief 62

    This incident highlights the downfall of CAD dispatch systems and ultimately delayed Control in being able to fill out the box and second alarm. It brought home to me how critical it is to give an accurate street address upon arrival for if its a mispelled name the end result was as it was. Been first up on one of these so I know how stressed everyone was. It was good someone in the neighbourhood a couple of streets over also called as equipment was dispatched and closeby for re-assignment. Always tough when one of these happens on your stations doorstep, your literally in the fight before you have had process time. Be very interestd in the outcome for a cause, very unusual destruction for a natural gas explosion of the depth and distance of the debris field. Great Job IFD.

    IFD has lots of resources to throw at an incident of this magnitude, as most of us know its really difficult in a narrow bay to be able to position aerial devices quickly with the resulting congestion and by the minute ever changing priorities. Condolences to the families of the victims.

  • CLT_FF

    Probably very hard for the first company on scene to nail down the right street or address. I assume that address numbers, mailboxes and or street signs were obliterated and it sounded to me that was why the first company in was having a hard time giving out an address…I could be wrong.

  • Dan Hansman

    I am very, very proud of all of the firefighters that were working on this incident. Thank you for doing all that you could do to save this couple. I am honored to work with you.