Chickasaw, OH – First responders searched through debris for a missing woman Sunday evening after an explosion destroyed one house and damaged a neighboring one.
Dark plumes of smoke could be seen for miles after a house at 3751 County Road 716A erupted around 6 p.m., with the blast completely destroying the structure and making a sound described by neighbors in the area as that of a cannon being fired.
Multiple fire departments from around the county, Mercer County Sheriff’s deputies and Mercer County Emergency Response Volunteers rushed to the area, blocking off roads and trying to determine the cause of the blast – and whether the area was safe.
Montezuma Fire Chief Lee Braun said that upon arrival, the area had been engulfed in heavy fire. After crews managed to extinguish the flames, Braun reportedly spoke with the homeowner, who’d said his wife had been inside the home at the time.
“At this point, we are still searching for her,” Braun said during a press conference around 8:30 p.m. “We have multiple jurisdictions helping us with the search of the female.”
The cause of the explosion was still under investigation by press time Sunday, but some reported smelling natural gas in the area.
The state fire marshal has been called in to help in the investigation.
As daylight faded, first responders lit up the area in order to continue searching the immediate debris field and to try and determine the possible cause of the explosion. Dozens of yards away from the remains of the house, more first responders could be seen searching the area with flashlights.
“(The house) was completely knocked off its foundation and the debris field is very large that we are searching,” Braun said.
The missing woman had not been found and no one had been transported for injuries at the time of the press conference.
A neighboring house sustained significant outside damage as a result of the explosion, but was still in tact and had reportedly not caught fire. The windows to the house had been blown out, but Braun said none of the neighbors were injured.
The other resident of the destroyed house had not requested housing assistance, and reportedly had other family in the area, according to Braun.