Indianapolis explosion kills two, causes widespread damage

INDIANAPOLIS - The extent of the damage from an explosion and fire that rocked a neighborhood on Indianapolis' south side late Saturday night was easily evident from SkyCam 6, which flew over the wreckage early Sunday.

The blast leveled two homes and damaged up to two-dozen more, killing a Greenwood teacher and her husband and injuring several others.

There was next to nothing left of the home where investigators think the blast originated in the Richmond Hill subdivision near County Line Road and Sherman Drive.

The home next to that home burned to the ground, and numerous other homes nearby were heavily damaged.

The Department of Code Enforcement said Sunday night that a total of five homes were either completely destroyed in the blast or will need to be demolished, 26 homes are damaged so badly that occupancy is prohibited and 50 homes sustained minor damage.

Indianapolis police instituted a voluntary emergency curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for residents of the subdivision, citing the "ongoing concern for the safety of residents and to protect the incident scene as inclement weather approaches."

Resident Michelle Crick was sleeping when the explosion happened.

"It woke me up. I thought it was an earthquake. It woke me up. I thought the house was going to crumble on us," Crick said.

Crick, a mother of five boys, counted her blessings on Sunday. Her husband, Brandon, rescued a girl from a nearby house.

"You know, if you can help someone else, that's what you do," Brandon Crick said.

Kirk McDonald and his 24-year-old son, David McDonald, left their home after hearing the explosion and heard a woman screaming for help.

"You heard the mother screaming, 'Save my daughters, save my daughters.' No one else was around to jump in," Kirk McDonald said. "My son was the first to go in. My nephew went in. I went in. We found the daughters, both of them were fine. One of them had a head injury. We got both out."

That's when they discovered the husband trapped under a pile of ruble nearby.

"We dug him out. We found the wife in a recliner. She was covered with everything," Kirk McDonald said.

"It was really scary. It was the most scared I've been in my entire life," David McDonald said. "When it comes to those situations, when someone is in need of help, you really can't think, 'I'm scared.' You just have to react and get these people out."

Houses two streets away had their garage doors blown in by the force of the blast.

Vinyl siding was torn from the side and back of other houses in the neighborhood, with wood and other debris strewn about.

Mickey Cocherell's home was damaged in the blast and declared uninhabitable.

"They let us go back in with an escort. We had a police officer that escorted us back there and then we had a fire chief that walked through the house with us. He would go into the rooms and make sure that they were alright to walk through before we were able to go in there," Cocherell said.

Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said officials are working to get things back to normal for residents.

"We're going to use every resource to help individuals get their lives back in order. We also want to remember the families of those that lost their lives here as we go through this process," Riggs said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called in to investigate the explosion, which was heard for several miles around.

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