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Entries in Explosion (30)

Monday
May272013

Boat Explosion at a Maryland Marina Injures Six Children

iStockphoto(EDGEWATER, Md.) -- Several people were injured, including children, in an explosion Monday afternoon at a Maryland marina.

The 32-foot well-craft vessel with twin engines had just pulled away from the dock at Oak Grove Marina on the South river in Maryland where it had been fueling when the explosion happened.  just before noon.

There were nine passengers on board the vessel, including six children. Two of the children, a boy and a girl both 9 years old, were taken to Bayview Burn Center. Three other children were taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center the last one was taken to Johns Hopkins Pediatrics.

The three adults on board refused medical treatment.

Investigators are looking into the cause of the explosion.

“Usually it's an accumulation of fumes, gas fumes in the bilge area of a vessel,” said Sgt. Brian Albert with the Maryland Natural Resources Police. “And, they just refueled so that's what leads me to believe that that's a possibility that this happened at this time.”

Albert said the explosion and damage did not spread beyond the one boat.

“It was contained to the one vessel,” he said. “They were not right at the fueling dock when the explosion took place. They were out and away from the dock.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr182013

Rescuers Searching for Survivors, Missing People After TX Explosion

Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WEST, Texas) -- Search and rescue teams in Texas are looking for survivors and missing people amid buildings where walls and roofs have been torn away and other buildings have been flattened by an explosion at a fertilizer plant. Firefighters are among the missing and authorities fear that five to 15 people could be dead.

"It ranges from broken windows to complete devastation," Waco Police Department Sgt. William Swanton said at a news conference Thursday. "There are homes that are no longer homes."

At some buildings, "walls were ripped off, roofs were peeled back," the sergeant said.

The fire and explosion Wednesday night in a small town north of Waco prompted widespread evacuations and sent more than 160 injured people to hospitals.

The blast at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas, occurred just before 8 p.m., but officials still were struggling to tally the dead and injured early Thursday morning and searching door-to-door amid the rubble for survivors, police said.

Authorities expressed concerns on Thursday about looting, but now say they believe what was initially reported to them was an isolated incident.

"I have confirmed at least there was an incident last night when they thought they may have had a looter," Swanton said, adding that the incident occurred "very, very early in the scenario."

He said there was no arrest and the problem is "not rampant," but people are still being kept out of the main disaster area.

Swanton said the five to 15 deaths is a "rough number" and they are unverified.

"I don't have a number of how many they have rescued or how many potential bodies they have found," he said.

"There are still firefighters missing," Swanton said.

He said an estimated three or four who are missing are volunteer firefighters, "meaning that they probably have a very large contingent of people that are willing to risk their lives for the neighbors and community."

They are the first responders who were battling the fire when the explosion occurred, he said.

A firefighter and law enforcement officer who was previously mentioned as missing has been found, Swanton said. He is in a hospital with "pretty serious injuries," he added.

Swanton said authorities are still in search-and-rescue mode and are not yet in recovery mode.

"The town is secure. There are plenty of law enforcement officials that are stationed around the town," Swanton said. "There is no fire out of control. There is no chemical escape from the fertilizer plant that is out of control."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb202013

Deadly Restaurant Explosion in Kansas City Captured on Tape

Ablestock.com/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) – New video emerged Wednesday of a massive explosion at a Kansas City restaurant Tuesday night that left one person dead and 15 injured.

The video of the blast at JJ’s Restaurant, an eatery in the upscale Country Club Plaza, came from a surveillance camera at Shelton Travel Service Inc., a nearby business.

The video showed a sudden fiery explosion erupting from the restaurant’s corner location. Several cars were stopped at a stoplight in the intersection at the time.

Earlier Wednesday, Kansas City authorities announced that they had found a body at the scene of the blast. One person had been missing since Tuesday evening. Of the 15 people transported to local hospitals Tuesday, nine had been released.

Questions about who was responsible for the deadly explosion went unanswered from various offices Wednesday. A report about a gas leak came in at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday evening. The time-stamp on the surveillance video showed it was nearly half an hour later – 5:44 p.m. – at the time of the blast. The first emergency call about it came at 6:04 p.m.

Pressed by reporters about who was responsible for the tragedy, Kansas City Mayor Sly James responded tersely, “It ain’t going to happen today.”

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Missouri Gas Energy said its probe into the blast continues.

“We remain focused on supporting the ongoing investigation into the cause of last night’s incident and on ensuring the continued security of the site,” the company said. “Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted and their loved ones, and we want to thank the emergency responders for their efforts last night and their continued work today to help so many.”

The chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission, Kevin Gunn, said in a statement that early indications point to the incident not stemming from a system failure.

“Very preliminary reports indicate this leak may have been caused by a strike on a line, rather than a spontaneous infrastructure failure,” Gunn said. “However, we cannot know for certain until our staff completes what will be a very detailed inspection.”

Such inspections, Gunn cautioned, can take months.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb202013

More than a Dozen Injured in Kansas City, Mo., Gas Explosion

Ablestock.com/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- More than a dozen people were injured after a natural gas explosion ripped through a popular downtown restaurant in an upscale section of Kansas City, Mo.

Witnesses say the huge fireball, which engulfed an entire city block Tuesday night, could be seen for miles.  The explosion destroyed JJ's restaurant and rattled windows blocks away.

"Everything shook, and you could feel it almost as much as you could hear it," one witness said.  "It was by far the biggest explosion I've ever felt in my life."

There were no initial reports of fatalities, but cadaver dogs are searching the area.  Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi told reporters Wednesday morning that one person is missing.

"At this time we're still searching for one victim and that employee is a female employee of JJ's restaurant," he said.

St. Luke's Hospital said it treated eight patients, including two men who were in critical condition.  Six other people had less serious injuries, according to ABC News affiliate KMBC-TV.  The University of Kansas Hospital said it had received four patients and had a fifth on the way, KMBC reported.

More than 100 firefighters worked overnight to knock back the thick black smoke and shooting flames that forced onlookers to flee the downtown Kansas City shopping district just after 6 p.m.

"We are concerned that there may be additional people not able to get out of the structure," Berardi told reporters late Tuesday.  "This was happy-hour at a restaurant.  There were patrons in the restaurant."

"I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this," he added.

Investigators are sifting through the rubble Wednesday morning and trying to figure out what caused the blaze.  It is believed that a contractor might have hit an underground natural gas line.

It almost smelled like the radiators were seeping out gas," one witness said.  "Strong enough for us to call the landlord to say something was wrong."

Witnesses say gas fumes could still be smelled hours after firefighters got the flames under control.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec212012

Three Charged with Murder and Arson in Indianapolis Home Explosion

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Prosecutors in Marion County, Indiana Friday announced murder and arson charges against three people in connection with a deadly home explosion Nov. 10 that set off a chain reaction of fires, leaving a neighborhood in ruins — and a young couple dead.

Monserrate Shirley, 47, who owned the home that exploded, was charged along with her live-in boyfriend, Mark Leonard, 43, and his brother, Robert Leonard, 54.

The defendants will have their initial hearings on Monday morning in Marion County Superior Criminal Court.

Authorities allege that the November blast in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Indianapolis was an intentional act, a conspiracy concocted by the three to collect on a recently-increased $300,000 insurance policy that covered the personal property in the home.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry called it a “thoroughly, thoroughly, senseless act.”

In affidavits unsealed Friday, investigators allege that the trio released natural gas into the home for six to nine hours. The source of ignition for the blast was a microwave oven — allegedly set on a timer to ignite the gas.  Additionally, a regulator restricting gas flow into the home appeared to have been removed, and a valve that controls the flow of gas to a fireplace is missing, authorities said.

Shirley and Mark Leonard were away from the home on the night of the blast, staying overnight at a nearby casino.  Shirley’s 12-year-old daughter had been sent to stay with a babysitter, and the family cat spent the weekend with boarders.

Investigators allege that there was a nearly identical, but failed, attempt to blow up the house a week earlier.   The cat was boarded, the daughter sent to the same babysitter and Leonard and Shirley took off for the same casino.

Mark Leonard, prosecutors allege, had called a friend that weekend to say, “The house blew up.”   Leonard then told the friend that he was surfing the Internet “looking for a Ferrari to buy,” according to an affidavit unsealed Friday.  Leonard allegedly told the friend that Shirley “has jewelry insured and they expect to get $300,000 and he would get $100,000 of it.”  It was only later, prosecutors say, that Leonard discovered that the house had failed to explode that time.

Curry said Friday that as soon as investigators began poring over the remnants of Shirley’s home, they noticed that the microwave oven had been blasted out from the inside.   A small canister found in the kitchen may have been inside the microwave, but authorities say is still being tested for evidence of flammable contents.

When the home exploded on Nov. 10, the noise of the explosion could be heard and felt for miles around — and it sent a blast wave into the home next door, killing John and Jennifer Longworth.    A coroner’s report found that John Longworth, 34, died from burns covering more than 95 percent of his body.      Jennifer Longworth, a 36-year old schoolteacher, died from blast injuries to the head and burns that covered 80 percent of her body. She was found dead in her bed, which had collapsed through the floor to the basement.

Curry said authorities are still seeking at least one other person who, they believe, may have had a role in the crime.  That person was allegedly seen entering the home on the day of the explosion, along with a man matching the description of Robert Leonard.

In addition to two counts of felony murder, all three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit arson, and 45 counts of arson for causing injuries to others and damage to neighboring homes.  The total damage has been estimated to be in the range of $4 million.

The case qualifies for the death penalty, but Curry said no decision has yet been made on whether to seek it.

Randall Cable, an attorney for defendant Monserrate Shirley, did not immediately respond to emails and phone messages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec132012

Texas Church Explodes on Would-Be Thieves

Buccina Studios/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Whether it was negative karma, divine intervention or just awful luck, a couple of would-be thieves learned a painful lesson while trying to rob a Houston church.

Westway Baptist Church is without power after the unidentified men apparently attempted to steal the building’s main electric cable for its copper and set off an explosion.

“Our security alarms went off at 2 a.m. on Wednesday and that’s when our church member Homer Pate notified the Harris County Sheriff’s department of the robbery,” head deacon Michael Kirtley told ABC News.

A surveillance camera caught the incident on tape. The video shows a truck pulling up, followed by one man cutting the wires near the street, possibly attempting to disconnect the main power line.

The video also showed the other man cutting the wires at the breaker box, followed by the explosion. The bolt cutters exploded upon contact with the copper wire.

“The man just blew up into a fire ball,” Kirtley said. “I surely don’t know if he was electrocuted or even alive.”

The church is calling on all local medical facilities to help find the alleged thieves. “If they encounter someone with suspicious burn wounds, we urge them to inform the authorities,” he said.

The church canceled all of Wednesday night’s activities for lack of power. It also rented a generator in preparation for Sunday services.

“We can start the generator for eight hours only to minimize expenses,” Kirtley said. “Our [insurance] deductible is $5,000. This robbery is going cost the church a lot.”

The church suffered two robberies last year when two air conditioners were stolen.

Westway Baptist urged anyone with information about the attempted robbery to call the church at (281) 894-4542. They can also contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov192012

Indianapolis House Explosion Case Now a Criminal Homicide Investigation

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The probe into a massive explosion earlier this month in Indianapolis that killed two people and damaged dozens of homes is now an active criminal homicide investigation, with authorities saying they believe the blast was caused intentionally, ABC News has learned.

At a meeting Monday evening at the Southport Presbyterian Church to update residents of the Richmond Hill subdivision where the blast occurred, Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry said the criminal homicide investigation is ongoing.

The ATF offered up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

The explosion in the subdivision just south of the city on Saturday, Nov. 10, killed John and Jennifer Longworth. Their funeral was held earlier Monday.

Much of the attention since the explosion has centered on Monserrate Shirley and her boyfriend Mark Leonard, who lived at the house in the center of the blast area.

John Shirley, who owns that house but now lives elsewhere, told ABC News two days after the blast that he believed that his ex-wife, who still lives in the house, was to blame for the explosion.

Shirley claimed he knew that the furnace in the house was broken and had not been fixed properly, if at all.

"If I were to suspect anything, that's where the problem was," said Shirley, who noted that his ex-wife Monserrate Shirley had a "protective order" against him. However, Shirley said he did not believe his ex-wife would have caused the explosion intentionally.

"I don't think so, because there was no real reason to," Shirley said. "I pay a thousand dollars a month for one kid because she had a lawyer and I did not, so she has more than enough money. At one point the house was slipping into foreclosure. Last spring she had a buyer but she chose not to sell. We were in some bankruptcy but that's pretty well cleared up."

Monserrate Shirley and Leonard were reportedly visiting a casino at the time of the blast.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov122012

Authorities Probe Cause of Indianapolis Explosion

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Two days after a massive explosion in Indianapolis' Southside area left two people dead and dozens of homes destroyed, authorities continued their investigation Monday, and shaken residents banded together to help each other recover.

"It is still an investigation so we're very limited on the information we can give out," said Gary Coons, the chief of the Indianapolis division of the Department of Homeland Security. "We're looking at everything -- all causes, all possibilities. There's a lot of possibilities out there. ... There's a lot of possibilities that could trigger an explosion like this."

Authorities said they had launched a probe into the explosion, but cautioned they might not know the cause for days.

"You're talking days -- it could be weeks," Capt. Rita Burris, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Fire Department, told ABC News. "They're going over the scene and processing evidence. It's still in the investigation stage."

Sarah Holsapple, a spokeswoman for Citizens Energy, said that no gas leaks had been found and that other lines were being tested. She said, however, that she did not know how long the testing would take.

"It's too early to speculate if this could have been caused by a leak," Holsapple said.

Displaced residents gathered at a nearby Presbyterian church to meet with officials about when they could go retrieve any belongings from their houses. Most were told they would have only an hour to go in and take what they could.

Marcy Snow said she has been coming to the church since 1954. Her niece's home was destroyed in the blast.

"The main thing that I have seen repeatedly, manning this door, is people want to help," she said, standing in a room at the church full of food and supplies. "They're a very loving and giving community. They're proud to be here. They hate to see anybody hurting."

"They need time," she said, choking up.

The owner of a house in the blast area, who now lives elsewhere, said he believed a faulty furnace in the house caused the explosion, though Citizens Energy's Holsapple said the company had not gotten any calls about a faulty furnace.

"About a week and a half ago I got a text from my daughter that the furnace was out and they were going to spend the night at a hotel. If I were to suspect anything, that's where the problem was," said John Shirley, who is divorced and now lives in Noblesville, Ind. "Supposedly they got it fixed, but because of what happened I don't think they got it fixed. I think that's what caused the problem. It either wasn't fixed correctly or, knowing my ex-wife, she probably compromised on the fix."

Shirley said that his ex-wife, Monserrate, has "a protective order" against him.

Asked if he believed his ex-wife started the explosion intentionally, Shirley said, "I don't think so because there was no real reason to. I pay a thousand dollars a month for one kid because she had a lawyer and I did not, so she has more than enough money," he said. "At one point the house was slipping into foreclosure. Last spring she had a buyer but she chose not to sell. We were in some bankruptcy but that's pretty well cleared up."

When asked about Shirley's claims, Burris told ABC News, "That's totally too far to even say anything. I can't even speculate. It's totally not something we've heard, but I'm sure it's something we'll look into."

The explosion took place around 11 o'clock Saturday night, destroying dozens of homes in the Richmond Hill neighborhood south of downtown.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul112012

Train Derailment in Ohio Sparks Explosion, Prompts Evacuations

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- A train in Columbus, Ohio, derailed early Wednesday morning, sparking an explosion and the evacuation of about 100 people near the fire, ABC News affiliate WSYX-TV reports.

At least two people have been injured.  Their conditions are not yet known.

The derailment happened at 2 a.m. on Fields Avenue.  Eleven cars in total derailed.  WSYX says some of the cars were carrying ethanol, a highly flammable substance.  As of a result, two went up in flames.

People within a one-mile radius of the blaze have been evacuated, according to WSYX.  A hazardous materials team has been called to the scene.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

LISTEN: NJ Yacht Explosion Hoax Distress Call Released

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has released audio recordings of the distress call made by a man claiming to be the captain of a yacht that had exploded off the coast of Sandy Hook, N.J. The call prompted the costly deployment of over 200 responders and a fleet of helicopters and boats into the Atlantic Ocean, before it proved to be a hoax.

In an early transmission, the man calmly told the Coast Guard, "We have three deceased, nine injured. We've had an explosion on-board that's why we're taking on water. I'm in about three-and-a-half feet of water on the bridge right now."

In an ensuing dispatch, the man contradicted his earlier transmission by saying, "We have 21 souls on-board, 20 in the water right now." He added, "I'm going to stay on the radio for as long as I can before I have to go overboard."

The recording contained five separate transmissions totaling almost a minute and a half.

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He also said that everyone had life jackets and that distress beacons were on-board.

The caller displayed some basic nautical knowledge, saying that his electronic communications array was down, which is why he called via solar radio. He also had fairly precise coordinates for their location, saying they were 17.5 miles east of Sandy Hook.

The last transmission cuts off ominously, with the caller saying "I'm dealing with 2nd and 3rd degree…" He was presumably speaking about burns suffered by the supposed victims of the explosion.

The U.S. Coast Guard has launched an investigation into a yacht explosion hoax call made by the realistic-sounding "captain."

The prankster faces a maximum of five to 10 years in prison for the federal crime, a $250,000 fine and a reimbursement to the government for the cost of the search.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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