The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 11, 2012

Deadly blast devastates Indianapolis neighborhood

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Officials did not identify the two people who were killed. However, a candlelight vigil was held at Greenwood’s Southwest Elementary School on Sunday night for second-grade teacher Jennifer Longworth. She and her husband, John Dion Longworth, lived at a home destroyed in the blast. WTHR-TV reported that friends, family and colleagues of the teacher gathered at the school.

Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon told reporters Sunday investigators haven’t eliminated any possible causes for the blast. But U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who represents the area, said he had been told a bomb or meth lab explosion had been ruled out.

Bacon said the crisis could have been much worse. “I know we’re very fortunate that some of the people weren’t home,” he said.

Bryan and Trina McClellan were at home with their 23-year-old son, Eric, when the shock wave from the blast a block away shook their home. It knocked out the windows along one side of their house, and their first instinct was to check on their grandchildren, two toddlers who were in the basement. One held his ears and said, “Loud noise, loud noise.”

Eric McClellan said he ran to the scene of the explosion and saw homes flat or nearly so.

“Somebody was trapped inside one of the houses, and the firefighters were trying to get to him. I don’t know if he survived,” he said, adding that firefighters ordered him to leave the area.

Once the flames were out, firefighters went through what was left of the neighborhood, one home at a time, in case people had been left behind, Fire Lt. Bonnie Hensley said. They used search lights until dawn as they peered into the ruined buildings.

Along with the two people killed, seven people were taken to a hospital with injuries, Bacon said. Everyone else was accounted for, he said.

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