Probe Shows Moving Stove To Clean Caused Gas Leak

MENTOR, Ohio (AP) - An explosion that destroyed a home occurred when the homeowner tried to light a cigarette and ignited gas that leaked after a stove had been moved for cleaning, authorities said.

"We've talked with him a few times now, and his story is consistent with what we see at the scene -- at least what's left of the scene," said Fire Chief Richard Harvey.

Gregg Waldruff, 42, was burned seriously in the explosion, the only person hurt in Wednesday's blast in this Cleveland suburb. Waldruff, the lone occupant of the house, has cooperated in the investigation and repeatedly asked if anyone else was hurt, Harvey said.

Harvey said Waldruff had moved the stove to clean it and apparently caused a leak that led to a buildup of natural gas. The explosion occurred the next morning when Waldruff tried to light a cigarette, Harvey said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)