Hundreds of homes affected by deadly explosion in East Cleveland

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EAST CLEVELAND-One day after a deadly blast ripped apart a home in East Cleveland and damaged many others in the area, the cause remains unknown.

The home on East 125th Street, near Forest Grove, blew apart around 1 p.m. Sunday. After the explosion, East Cleveland authorities confirmed a woman died in the blast and a 51-year-old man was critically wounded.

On Monday morning, officials said a $5,000 reward is being offered for information in the case. Please call 1-800-589-2728 if you know anything.

Authorities also said at least four residences are uninhabitable. Hundreds of homes were damaged to some degree, many have broken windows.

Affected Cleveland and East Cleveland residents can call the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross at 216-431-3010 about the assistance available.

The Red Cross will open a service center at 5 p.m. Monday night to determine the needs of those affected. It will also serve as on overnight shelter.  The shelter is at:

MLK Community Center
14801 Shaw Ave

Several agencies are investigating Sunday’s explosion, including Dominion Gas and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. They are investigating the explosion as a crime until it's proven to be otherwise.

A spokesperson for Dominion Energy tells FOX 8 the house was supposed to be vacant, but the gas line for the home was on and active.  Dominion Energy Ohio leak detection crews checked main lines and service lines outside the home and in the surrounding neighborhood and found no leaks. They have eliminated any Dominion Energy Ohio facilities (mains and service lines) as a potential factor in the explosion.  Investigators are now focusing their attention on the inside of the house.

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

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Many who live blocks away from the explosion told FOX 8 they had damage, like shattered windows and fallen debris.

“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.

Last month, there was another house explosion just a couple of blocks away from Sunday's explosion. It also remains under investigation.

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