1 dead following garage explosion in Wickliffe

Published: Feb. 26, 2023 at 11:06 AM EST
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WICKLIFFE, Ohio (WOIO) - Wickliffe fire officials confirmed one person died following a garage explosion Sunday morning.

Officials said the explosion happened at 10:48 a.m. in the 1700 block of Ridgeview Drive.

Witnesses tell 19 News that there were actually several loud explosions that sent debris flying everywhere, a raging fire and funnels of black smoke.

One neighbor named Linda who lives a few doors down heard the blast and ran outside to try and help, “It was a loud explosion like a bomb went off. That’s exactly what it sounded like. Because it shook the entire house.”

First responders on scene of house explosion in Wickliffe
First responders on scene of house explosion in Wickliffe(Source: WOIO)

Officials did not specify what caused the explosion.

But, when the initial initial 911 call came in first responders said, “It sound like a fireworks storage in the garage. There were multiple explosions and I think they’re looking for a victim.”

Jim Powers, the Wickliffe Fire Chief told 19 News, “We found a garage that was fully involved with fire. It appeared to be a fairly significant explosion that occurred. We do have one fatality. We’re still identifying that person. We believe at the time the decedent was in the building and we believe he was the only one present at the time of the explosion.”

At this point the victim has not been identified.

The ATF and the State Fire Marshal were called into investigate and work to determine what caused the deadly explosion and fire.

Chief Powers says there was significant damage to homes in the neighborhood. The garage at the center of the investigation was destroyed, as well as the back of the home. The blast was so powerful, neighboring houses had broken windows and other damage.

When asked if this was fireworks, Chief Powers responded, “Anytime someone has passed away or killed like that we believe it to be an accident. It doesn’t look to be anything suspicious other than a terrible thing that went wrong.”

The fire chief said the cause could be fireworks, and that people store all kinds of things in their garage. He also mentioned the explosion could have involved propane or a multitude of other things.

However, Fire Chief Powers says if the cause is determined to be fireworks he wants the public to keep something in mind, “We’re very lucky because something like this can take out several houses and can hurt a lot of people. Unfortunately, it did kill one person, but, it can destroy an entire neighborhood. Watch what you put in your garage. Fireworks should be left to the professionals.”

User-submitted video detailed multiple smaller explosions following the initial blast.

Officials said the Ohio State Fire Marshal is investigating the incident.

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.