Natural gas leak caused north Toledo home explosion - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Natural gas leak caused north Toledo home explosion

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Columbia Gas has confirmed that a natural gas leak was the cause of a home explosion in north Toledo Thursday afternoon.

Fire crews were called to a home on Huron Avenue near Bush Street in north Toledo just after 1 p.m. Thursday on a report of a fire. When crews arrived there was no fire, but the home was collapsed. Debris covered the area. The front door was found across the street.

"Just heard a big boom," said neighbor Craig Baldwin. "All of a sudden, all you heard was a big explosion...Whole house blew to smithereens."

The home is a rental property owned by United North, but was unoccupied at the time of the collapse. The most recent resident moved out only last week.

"We were told that there was some vandalism that happened," said Terry Glazer of United North. "We don't know if somebody disconnected a gas line or was trying to steal a furnace."

The Toledo Fire Department ordered a crane to the scene to remove wreckage to determine whether anyone was in the house, after it was suspected there may have been a squatter, but no one was found.

Neighboring homes received some damage, as well, and residents are staying elsewhere for the night.

"Soon as I got to the top of the stairs, it knocked me down and blew me back," said Bobbi Lipkins.

The American Red Cross is providing food, clothing and shelter to Lipkins and eight other neighbors affected by the blast.

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