ORWELL, Ohio — Investigators spent Thursday combing through rubble after a two-story house exploded on Montgomery Road in Orwell. They say gas is the apparent cause of the blast, which happened around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Deputies say the explosion killed a 27-year-old woman and seriously injured her boyfriend, who lived in the home. The man is listed in critical condition at a local hospital. Authorities are not yet releasing their names and are waiting for an autopsy to be completed on the woman.
“He was trying to get hold of her before his cousin pulled him out,” said Irene Klosinski, the man’s grandmother, who says he is conscious and talking, though severely burned. “We just loved her. I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.”
The explosion could be heard and felt for miles and launched debris from up to 100 feet from the home.
“We have indication from the family that there may have been a problem here with gas,” said Bob Sharp, with the Division of State Fire Marshal. “That’s the first thing we looked at.”
Investigators with the State Fire Marshal and Ohio Department of Natural Resources are looking into the possibility that gas seeped into the home’s well water supply. They dug up an area surrounding the home’s water pump.
“We don’t know what the ignition factor was, what the spark was that may have caused the explosion. We’ll be finding out with the investigation,” Sharp said.
Sharp said a neighbor reported smelling gas in her water and several neighbors told stories of lighting water on fire.
Klosinski said her grandson discovered a toilet running in the house when he got home from work Thursday.
Still, investigators said this does not appear to be a widespread problem.
“This is an isolated incident. There is no problem with gas explosions in this area,” Sharp said, though he urged anyone who smells gas to immediately call their local fire department.
ODNR tells Fox 8 News it has received no complaints of a gas odor from the address where the home exploded or the immediate area.
Investigators are expected to return to the site of the explosion Friday.
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