Sunday, November 11, 2012

Explosion - UPDATED

That is what happened tonight on the Far Southside of Indianapolis. A giant explosion that leveled at least two houses, severely damaged at least 14 others and damaged perhaps 100 more. So far, no reports of serious injuries or fatalities, which would be a miracle. But it's still early.

To give you an idea of how big this explosion was, I live about 11 miles away from it, and I not only heard it, but felt it. So did my cats, who were scared by it.

The presumption is that this was a natural gas explosion, and, indeed, a witness said the smell of natural gas was overpowering.

Still, a lot of unanswered questions about this explosion. We have had natural gas explosions in Indianapolis before, yet I have never heard or felt one. Until tonight's explosion. By comparison, when we had a tanker truck explode on the 70 maybe a half mile from my house, I barely heard it and certainly did not feel it. (Then again, my home is made of brick.) Perhaps tellingly (or perhaps not), city officials have refused to call it a natural gas explosion.

This was far, far larger than any natural gas explosion of which I am aware. The fire seems to have been unusually large as well. News reports indicate the explosion also took place in a vacant house that was for sale. A few suspicious circumstances that warrant additional examination. But if it was not a natural gas explosion I can't even hazard a guess as to what it was. I thought maybe meth lab, but it was too big for that. Was it indeed a natural gas explosion, but maybe not from a distribution line (which goes to individual customers) but from a transmission line, which carries gas between service areas and thus is much larger than a distribution line?

Hopefully the investigators will give us some answers in the next few days. And hopefully the residents can put their lives back together in short order.

UPDATE: unfortunately, the good news as to casualties did not hold up. WRTV is reporting that two are confirmed dead. At least four more injured.


  1. Just a side comment. This is the time of year that natural gas goes from summer delivery pressure to winter in the main lines.

  2. Hmm. I live less than a mile away. It shook my house hard and the boom is something I have never heard before in my life.

    I would say that the initial explosion caused a cloud of blown insulation to rise up as a cloud in the air, then within another five minutes (or so) the fires began in earnest and a second cloud (this time of smoke) rose up.

    Within 20 minutes I would posit that it became an eight alarm emergency, and more probably were called later.

    I will be very interested in the report of the investigators as I have never experienced the like before.