TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The State Fire Marshall's Office says they are still looking for the origin and cause of a massive explosion that reduced a home on Beaver Street in Newcomerstown to a pile of debris.
Neighbors say the one person killed in Tuesday night's explosion is Dean Taylor. The coroner's office has not formally released the victim's name because the condition of the body is so bad that they will need to use dental records to make a positive identification.
Family members spent the afternoon sifting through the charred and scattered remains of their loved one's home. A man identifying himself as the victim's son said the family didn't want to talk, but that his dad was a quiet and private man.
The Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office confirmed they were called out to a house fire on Beaver Street in Newcomerstown, Ohio. The city is about 100 miles south of Cleveland.
The call came in around 9 p.m. Residents reported hearing an explosion. Columbia Gas is investigating to confirm if a gas leak is to blame.
The gas company sent out the following statement at 6 a.m.
While we believe natural gas was involved in the incident, the circumstances leading up to and ultimately causing the incident are still being investigated. At this time, there is no indication that Columbia's system is at fault.
Columbia Gas will continue to work with authorities investigating the incident. We understand that our customers and those affected by the incident want answers about the cause of the incident, as do we. Time is needed to conduct a thorough investigation to understand the circumstances that lead to, as well as the actual cause of, the incident.
The explosion sent debris flying all over the place, including on top of a nearby home.
One neighbor said the explosion woke him up.
"It was a very, very loud explosion. The noise around my house, it had to been some concussion from it. I thought something had hit my house. My house actually shook. Of course, I was coming out of a dead sleep," said Jim Ludwig.
Ludwig said the sound even sent the cats scattering.
Wayne Plants, who lives only two streets away, says he's known Dean Taylor since they were 16-years-old.
"He was a great guy. He'd had a stroke one time, and he bounced back from that. He lost his wife a couple of years ago. We used to go to their home when they lived out in the country, in two different places, for class get togethers. We had a great time with him," said Plants.
Both Wayne Plants and his wife, Mary, felt the explosion that happened around nine at night.
West Elementary School is right near the scene. Across the street is the high school.
The Newcomerstown Board of Education said schools in the district have been canceled for Wednesday.
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