An explosion on Tuesday June 27, 2017 at 1717 Hercules Avenue in Evansville, Indiana was reported at 8:45 in the morning. Sharon F. Mand and Kathleen Woolems were killed when the home was leveled in the blast. A two-year statute of limitations was about to expire when three victims (Michael Kneer, Tara McKnight and her son) filed a lawsuit against a CenterPoint Energy Company currently merging with Vectren, which is allegedly responsible.
Initial reports and a number of subsequent rumors suggested that the blast had occurred because of a faulty oxygen rank or even a meth lab. Needless to say, the rumors didn’t get the story quite right.
According to a news release, “The multiple investigations of this incident by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Evansville Fire Department, the Evansville Police Department, and the attorneys for the victims did not reveal any evidence to support these rumors.”
Continuing, it said, “Investigators for the government agencies and the parties carefully sifted through the debris and found no evidence of a drug lab or oxygen tanks. Instead, the evidence supports the conclusion that, given the magnitude of the overpressure event which was heard and felt by numerous eyewitnesses and neighbors, the tragic explosion occurred due to the ignition of accumulated natural gas in the home.”
Such an accident due to accumulated natural gas is extraordinarily rare. Even when these gases are ignited, they are normally fast-burning and there is rarely enough pressure to result in so much damage. So why did this explosion occur?
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have requested that Vectren provide service records to shed light on the blast’s origin, including when technicians for the company were last present at the home and what they were doing. Vectren did not cooperate. Assumedly this information will be provided with the relevant documents via court order should a judge allow the case to move forward as expected.
A statement by Vectren suggests that the company does not take responsibility for the tragic accident: “Pursuant to a third-party investigation, which was completed immediately following the incident, it was determined neither Vectren natural gas nor electric facilities were at fault for the explosion.”
If that’s true, then why don’t we know how the explosion occurred yet?
The company is currently seeking approval for a new power plant that would replace an older coal-burning model. The proposed power plant will generate between 800 and 900 megawatts of energy using natural gas — which might not sound so great when homes are exploding due to natural gas buildup!