Le Mars, IA — Officials provided more information about the house explosion in Le Mars Wednesday morning.
Responders were called in the morning to a rental home at the corning of 3rd Street SW and 4th Avenue SW. The fire department was on the scene since 6:34 a.m.
Schipper said three people were injured as a result of the explosion. One person was inside the basement at the time of the incident and was taken to a local hospital but then transferred to the Lincoln burn center. A man and woman were outside during the explosion. The woman was buried beneath some debris, and the man was walking around when responders arrived. The two were taken to a local hospital for a broken collar bone and a broken arm. There were no deaths.
Schipper said they were very fortunate that the injuries weren’t severe.
“The important thing folks is nobody got killed right now,” Schipper said. “Nobody is really badly injured. We do have some injuries but hopefully, everybody is going to be okay. We didn’t lose any other people or… That time of morning, a lot of peole are sleeping yet, lots of things like that. All the firefighters are safe. For what we have, we are doing fairly well.”
Schipper noted they are in the preliminary phase of their investigation but said they believe the cause of the explosion was due to natural gas, causing the roof to blow off the house and landing two houses down. They believe the gas leak was inside the structure. They also said they are trying to figure out the cause of the spark.
The blast went straight up and rained debris down, so the debris field is within a quarter-block, Schipper said, adding that the percussive blast from the explosion caused damage for several blocks around. Officials will have to canvas the area and conduct a damage assessment.
Robert Trobaugh, a witness who lived a couple of blocks from the explosion, told KCAU 9 that he woke up due to the explosion. He initially thought that something had hit his house until a neighbor alerted him of the situation.
“We could just see smoke and flames above the trees and we were like, “what is going on down over there?’ And we were coming through the alley, we were seeing a house or two that exploded and one was on fire next door,” Trobaugh said. “This was so close… I don’ know how to explain it. The impact was so hardcore. It rattled everything around here.”