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‘It sounded like a sonic boom:’ Questions remain after deadly East Cleveland house explosion

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio—People could feel the ripple effect for miles after a house explosion rocked an East Cleveland neighborhood on Sunday afternoon.

The home on East 125th Street, near Forest Grove exploded at about 1 p.m. After the blast, East Cleveland authorities confirmed a female died in the blast and a 51-year-old man was critically wounded with burns.

Sunday evening, East Cleveland police located Ronetta Butts, who they are calling a person of interest in connection with the house explosion. They explained she frequents the neighborhood, but there are still many unanswered questions as to why they wanted to speak with her.

The explosion scene was described by many as a pile of match sticks. Many who live blocks away from the explosion told FOX 8 they had damage, like shattered windows and fallen debris.

The boom could be felt for miles and the 911 calls came pouring in.

“East Cleveland, Ohio, something happened on North Lockwood and the whole sky, the whole everything shook and after that everybody come out of their house, it was like a sonic sound or something," one caller said.

A man who lives on Carolyon Avenue in East Cleveland described the sounds he heard Sunday.

“It sounded like a sonic boom, It was real loud and I said, 'Oh Lord, we had another earthquake,'" said Atlas, who had at least nine windows shatter.

“The next thing I know my whole window just blew, just exploded. And I just heard this huge massive explosion and I looked and started screaming and then I got my kids and I ran out the door,” Atrina Moore said.

Moore said she and her young children were shaken by the blast. She also had shattered windows from the explosion.

"It could be nobody but God, nobody but God because when I saw all of these windows busted and the door down, it's like, 'Wow this was bigger than what I thought,'" she said.

Fire authorities in East Cleveland explained at least five to eight houses had to be evacuated on Sunday after the massive explosion. It is unknown when they can return to their homes.

"You can't get anywhere close to here, we have Cleveland police, East Cleveland police and we have a perimeter shut down, so not even close,” said Deputy Chief, Robert Benjamin, of the East Cleveland Fire Department.

Several agencies are investigating Sunday’s explosion, including Dominion Gas and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell said he believes the area is a crime scene.

"It's under investigation and the state is here also to find out what's going on. A lot of our residents are concerned about what's going on," Conwell said.

Continuing coverage of this story here