Possible Gas Explosion Destroys House, Damages Homes

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MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A house explosion rocks a suburban Cleveland community, sending smoke and debris throughout a neighborhood.

Many residents in Maple Heights say they thought the explosion was an earthquake. One house was destroyed, several others were damaged.

Investigators believe it was a natural gas explosion, but are still trying to figure out what sparked it.

"The house across the street just blew up...I mean, it was a huge explosion, there's parts of the house all over," said a 911 caller.

Startled neighbors on Dunham Road in Maple Heights called 911 after a house exploded around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, rocking their neighborhood.

"Basically we just heard a loud boom or whatever and then the kids were all in the house and they freaked out and started crying," said neighbor Courtney Scott.

Maple Heights fire investigators say the home had been vacant for more than a year. They say the explosion was caused by natural gas. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

"With a lot of vacant homes, you know that people steal copper in homes and that's just a thought process, I'm not saying that is what the cause is, it's just a possibility," said Maple Heights Fire Chief John Drsek III.

"It took out that window right there, it collapsed part of the deck," said Rhianna Anselmo, whose family lives next door.

The entire side of the house landed in Anselmo's back yard, but not before crashing into her deck and the back of her home.

At the time, she was in the bathtub.

"I was taking a bath and all that stuff fell down on me," she said.

Her 13-year-old daughter was sitting on the couch near the patio doors.

"You can see that the door completely blew open, and it was locked," Anselmo explained.

The explosion left debris throughout the house.

"If you look, there's broken glass all over the bed from things that had been hanging up on the wall," she said.

Even people who live a block away say they felt the earth move.

"We all ran outside, my neighbor looked out her window, I said did you feel that? She’s like yeah, and then my other neighbor came out and was like, what was that? My whole house just shook," said neighbor Lynn Bandsuh.

Demolition crews tore down what was left of the house, as well as a garage.