Officials are still investigating the cause of a deadly blast on Saturday night that killed two people, injured eight others, and displaced over 200 people in a residential neighborhood in Indianapolis, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Officials have not yet identified the two adults who were killed in the blast, but residents said that the two fatalities were a local elementary school teacher, Jennifer Longworth, and her husband, Dion Longworth. Dion Longworth was the director of product development and technology for Indy Audio Labs.
The deaths were first confirmed by a family member and later by teachers and employees at Southwest Elementary School, where Jennifer Longworth taught. The school district delayed the start of school by two hours on Monday morning to give counselors time to prepare for how to inform students, and hundreds of residents gathered for a vigil in honor of the Longworths on Sunday night.
"It just made my heart sink," Jennifer Taylor, whose son was a student of Longworth’s, told ABC News. "My son had her in second grade, and she did so much for him and she's done so much for all the kids here. It just saddened me so bad to hear the tragic news, that it was her.”
"How do you say something like that to the kids? How do you explain that?" said Autumn Stivers, another parent of local student. "I mean, they're seven years old, and for them to lose someone so close to their heart, it's horrible. And it was in a horrible way. Just devastating for all of us."
According to a statement from the Indianapolis Fire Department, the origin of the blast has been traced to 8415 Fieldfare Way, in southern Indianapolis.
While the full cost of repair is still being assessed, officials have said that 80 homes were damaged in the explosion and seven have been rendered uninhabitable. As many as 31 dwellings may need to be torn down due to the damages sustained during both the explosion and ensuing fires, said Deputy Code Enforcement Director Adam Collins. Collins estimated that the total cost of the damage could amount to about $3.6 million.
"There are houses that will have to be torn down," said Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon, in an interview with reporters, on Sunday. He added that fire officials had not yet ruled out any possible causes of the explosion.
"There's a significant number of homes that have sustained damage, including two that have been completely destroyed,” said Marc Loter, a spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Gregg Ballard. “No cause has been ruled out.
U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who represents the neighborhood, said that investigators were no longer considering the possibility that it was a bomb or meth lab explosion. The congressman said that he had toured the wreckage and was briefed on the situation by Homeland Security, reported CBS.
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