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Residential gas explosion results in 2 deaths

Montana residents may have read about the recent explosion that destroyed five homes in a housing subdivision. Two people passed away in the fatal accident after an adjacent home exploded. This incident could result in wrongful death action filed on behalf of the victims.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation, but at this point it appears that the home next door was filled with natural gas fumes that accumulated from a manipulated gas pipe.

Whenever natural gas is present, all it takes is a small spark to ignite the gas into flames. In this case, from the size of the explosion it appears that this was not a minor leak. This is unusual because typically gas will disperse if it can find an escape route.

As a result of this fact, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have concluded that the blast was not an accident, which means that this fatal blast is now being considered a criminal incident. Although the focus of this particular case has shifted to the criminal spectrum, it could possibly lead to wrongful death claims. In some cases, criminal negligence has led to action in civil courts.

Investigators are now focusing their efforts on determining whether someone intentionally unscrewed a gas line in the home and then used a remote control to set off a spark to ignite the gas leak.

No arrests have yet been made, but law enforcement authorities are in the process of serving search warrants and questioning likely suspects. Hopefully more answers are found, since the victims' loved ones are likely looking for healing and closure.

Source: USA Today, "Police: Gas released into Indy home that exploded," John Tuohy, Nov. 20, 2012

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