One person was killed Monday evening after a propane tank exploded, leveling a Lowell, Ind., home in a fiery blast that also destroyed a neighboring home.
The body of Victor Strain, 43, was found early Tuesday morning in the debris of the home, on the 100 block of East 181st Avenue, a remote subdivision surrounded by farm country.
Sheriff John Buncich said Strain was checking on the home at about 7 p.m. because he smelled something unusual.
The homeowner, who lives with Alzheimer's disease, has been living in a nursing home for several months. Neighbors and friends periodically check on the home, said Clint Gorball, chief of the Lowell volunteer fire department.
The propane tank in the home held 500 pounds of the gas, officials said. While an exact cause of the explosion known, officials said early indications were "consistent with a gas leak." Gorball said there was no reason to suspect foul play.
"Nothing right now is pointing in that direction. But we still have yet to rule that out completely," he said.
"It seems to be an accident, a neighbor checking on a home," Buncich added.
More than 100 first responders from 12 fire departments responded to the blast side, which is just east of Lowell and about 30 miles south of Gary. Debris from the explosion was found up to 75 yards away from where the house stood.
"There was not much left of the house that exploded," said Gorball.
A neighboring home was destroyed in the blast.
No other injuries were reported.
|This neighboring home was completely destroyed in the blast.
Photo: Michelle Relerford