Evansville, Indiana: 3 people died and 39 homes were damaged after a house explosion

“There could be other victims, we haven’t finished our search,” Connelly said. “Buildings are not yet safe to enter.”

The initial investigation shows that 39 houses suffered “severe minor damage”, the chief added.

The chief then told reporters that 11 of those 39 homes remained habitable, adding that the American Red Cross would assist affected families.

Evansville is about 3 hours southwest of Indianapolis.

In a publication On Twitter, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke shared photos from the scene showing destroyed and damaged homes and piles of debris and said first responders and local services “will keep residents of the Willemette Village/Wesselman Park neighborhoods safe and informed”.
The mayor told the CNN affiliate WFIE that the scene was “devastating” and that it will likely take some time to figure out what happened.

“I had seen photos posted online, but once I got to the residence itself and saw the devastation with my own eyes, it was, I mean, it was a hit. punch,” Winnecke said.

“In front of the explosion, you will see house after house whose windows have been blown out, you know that the insulation of the houses has been blown out,” added the mayor.

A structural collapse team was called in to inspect the buildings and ensure that all gas and electrical systems “were intact”, the chief said.

At least eight agencies were at the scene, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the State Fire Marshal.

“They will resume the investigation in the morning,” the chief said during a press conference on Wednesday evening. “This is standard operating procedure for an incident of this size and type.”

Search and rescue teams will be allowed to return to the area once utilities are secure and the ATF determines their part of the investigation is complete, Connelly said.

Authorities also asked residents to stay away from the area.

An investigation into the incident and the causes of the explosion is ongoing, Connelly added.

CNN’s Sara Smart contributed to this story.