Cleveland, Ohio, House Explosion and Fire Believed Intentional

February 4, 2010

Fire investigators in Cleveland, Ohio, say they’ve ruled out an accident as the cause of a fire and explosion that decimated one house and damaged dozens of others.

However, authorities are stopping short of making an arson declaration in the fiery Jan. 25 blast on the city’s west side. Fire department spokesman Larry Gray said that investigators eliminated all possible accidental causes, leaving them to conclude the act was intentional. He declined to offer further details.

Two nearby buildings caught fire as a result of the blast. City Councilman Matt Zone said the home next door and a small, brick apartment building would be razed because of severe structural damage from the Jan. 25 explosion.

Fire department spokesman Larry Gray says four people who were near the house that blew up were taken to hospitals with injuries not considered life-threatening.

City Safety Director Martin Flask says authorities are offering only limited information so as not to tip their hand to potential suspects or witnesses.

The house that blew up was vacant at the time. The explosion damaged 57 other homes, some so badly they had to be torn down.

Neighbors say the house had been vacant for two years. In days before the blast neighbors had complained about a natural gas smell coming from the house

Information from: The Plain Dealer,

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