2 elderly people killed in house fire, explosion in Indiana

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Two people in their 90s died and a third person was injured when a fire and reported explosion destroyed a home in west-central Indiana, authorities said.

Crawfordsville Fire Chief Scott Busenbark said crews were called Saturday morning to a house fire and found one person on the home’s front lawn. He said the injured person was flown by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital in stable condition, WXIN-TV reported.

Busenbark said first responders who entered the house after the fire was put out found two people dead. The deceased were identified by the Montgomery County Coroner as Richard Chastain, 90, and Marilyn Fox, 91.

WISH-TV reported that neighbors told the fire department they heard an explosion about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The State Fire Marshal is investigating.

R. Martin Umbarger, a retired major general with the Indiana National Guard, told WISH-TV that Chastain was a retired Indiana National Guard general and “the kind of man you expected to live forever.”

A 90th birthday celebration had been planned Saturday for Chastain at a local community center, the station reported.

Busenbark said the deaths have shaken Crawfordsville, a city of about 16,000 residents located about 45 miles (70 kilometers) miles northwest of Indianapolis.

“When something like this happens, it hits the whole community," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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