Demolition Continues on Homes Wrecked by Explosion (Photos)

By Scott Sarvay

November 12, 2012 Updated Dec 3, 2012 at 7:19 PM EST

Greenwood, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - The wrecking ball will take aim at several homes damaged or destroyed following an explosion earlier this month.

The Department of Code Enforcement has ordered 33 homes be demolished.

Six of those homes will come down Monday.

Investigators now say the explosion was intentionally set off the massive explosion could have been set off by a remote detonator.

Authorities said the fumes seeped from a manipulated pipe or stove and gathered within the house until a small spark ignited it.

The use of a remote detonator is the newest and most leading theory of how the blast occurred but more investigation is needed before they can be sure.

Authorities wouldn’t say what evidence led them in that direction of investigation.

Police confirmed Tuesday that the white van had been found and inspected, but they released no other details, such as who owned the van.

As for a gas explosion, experts said the spark could have been activated from outside the house by using a remote control to turn on an electrical appliance.

“All it needs is a tiny spark, like when a light, a television or a thermostat is turned on,” said Jay A. Siegel, a forensic and investigative science consultant who taught at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. “It’s entirely possible, though I’ve never heard of anyone actually doing it.”

Investigators continue to dig through the wreckage in search of clues as to who could be behind the explosion, and any possible motives.

After eight days of detective work investigators are now calling the Greenwood explosion a criminal homicide case.

Investigators believe that the actions prior to the explosion were intentional, but they are not releasing any details at this point.

This comes on the same day that Jennifer and Dion Longworth, the couple killed in the Nov. 10 explosion, were laid to rest.

The Longworths lived next door to the home that exploded. Their house collapsed and burned around them. The explosion damaged dozens of other homes, and nearly a quarter of the neighborhood's houses are unsafe to live in.

Last week Citizens Energy and the NTSB ruled out a leak in the gas lines outside the home.

NTSB investigators say that the origin of Saturday evening’s deadly explosion may have been the home’s fireplace and not the furnace.

A left open gas line is being investigated as the cause.

The woman who owned the Greenwood home that blew up says she had nothing to do with it.

Moncy Shirley says she's stunned by what happened.

She and her boyfriend left, Friday night, for a weekend trip to a casino.

Her 12-year-old daughter was staying with friends, and they boarded their cat. A move some have wondered about.

Investigators believe natural gas is somehow involved. Perhaps a faulty appliance but Shirley says she never smelled any.

Shirley says, “It's devastating and people keep asking me questions and questions like I know something. I don't know anything. I just left my house like we always do."

The daughter recently told her mom’s ex-husband that the furnace wasn't working.

Shirley say's that her boyfriend recently changed the thermostat and the furnace seemed to be working fine after that.

The explosion claimed the life of two people, a husband and wife. Eight others sustained injuries and two homes were completely leveled.

30 houses are now un-inhabitable, six are in disrepair and must be demolished and eight more will need repairs before residents can move back in.

The community is pitching-in at shelters, giving food and necessities for those families affected by the blast.

Home owners whose house was destroyed, Mickey Cocherell said, “When I first woke up, I thought it's an earthquake. Normally it's a boom, and everything stops, but it woke me up, and I pulled up, and it just kept shaking. I thought, it's crumbling. The house keeps crumbling, and it's gonna fall on us. We have to get the babies...we have to get out."

Police have escorted some residents into the neighborhood to retrieve a few items from their homes and to have a brief look but authorities say this area will be closed indefinitely until they understand what happened.




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