Home explodes in Northern Kentucky

Reported by Jill Eichorn - email
Posted by Richard Todd - email

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Witnesses says a home on a busy Northern Kentucky intersection was launched 20 feet into the air before collapsing in a spray of broken glass and shattered wood in what appears to have been a natural gas explosion.

The flaming explosion happened Sunday afternoon at a vacant home just off the intersection of Dixie Highway and US 42 in downtown Florence.  The blast broke windows in a medical office building and a brick house on either side of the home.  When the home fell back down, it collapsed from two stories to one. The main evidence of its launch was its crooked position and a section of roof that landed in the front yard.

"As I turned the corner, I heard this big bang and see this flash of light over here and then that house just blew up in the air and came back down," said witness Karen Harris, of Hebron.

Shards of glass sprayed into the street and into the parking lot of an auto detailing shop across the street, the nearest business that was open.  Workers there said they felt lucky not to have been injured.

People in the area were also relieved the explosion didn't happen on a weekday.  If it had, there might have been patients in and around the medical building and kids coming and going from an elementary school a couple of doors away.

"Summertime orthodontists see a lot of patients and this could have been very devastating to my staff, and my patients too," said Dr. Terry Gruelle, who works as an orthodontist nearby.

The home has been vacant and on the market for business use for some time.  The fire chief suspects this was a natural gas explosion because of how and where it happened.

"The first suspicion is going to be natural gas," said Marc Muench, chief of Florence Fire and EMS. "There's a natural gas leak somewhere in the building. What caused the leak, why the building chose to explode at this particular time, those are the things we need to investigate."

The real estate agent said there was not any odor of natural gas in a visit just few days ago.

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