House explosion in a local community frightens neighbors
UPDATE (8/12/13, 9:04 a.m.): The Perry County Coroner's Office says the victim in Sunday's house explosion has been identified as 83-year-old Harold A. Pundsack. An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday.
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.
PERRY COUNTY, Ill.—An early morning home explosion leaves one person dead and an entire neighborhood without gas, power and water this evening. Police in Du Quoin, Illinois are not releasing the identity of the person who died right now, but we do know the force of the explosion completely leveled the home.
Neighbors said the power-packed explosion rattled their homes and their lives.
Johnathan Morris said, "I was at my house probably around 9-9:30 and then we felt the trailer rock."
He said he heard the explosion from a mile away. "It does make me nervous," said Morris.
The blast left one dead and emergency crews evacuated several homes for the night.
Perry County Emergency Management Coordinator David Searby said the Perry County coroner is on scene at this time.
Searby said the investigation could take days. "We're not going to let people back in their house if it is unsafe. If there has been structural damages," said Searby.
Like many, Morris said he was caught off guard and as a father, he is thinking about his children.
Morris said, "I've got kids and stuff, but I realize it can happen if it's a gas leak, it can happen to anyone."
The house is a loss. Even parts of the home were scattered hundreds of feet from the scene.
Searby said, "You'll see debris field, out here on the hot scene, they're gonna assess that, that's why we haven't disturbed any of that because we want to wait, they're gonna be able to tell."
The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents. Du Quoin police officers currently have South Lake Drive, as well as Madison Street closed.