The Republic Masthead

Blast damage estimates hit $4.4M


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Damage estimates have risen again as code enforcement officers continue to assess houses shook by a massive blast on the southside.

They’ve found that six more homes than originally thought in the devastated Richmond Hill neighborhood were damaged, and they raised the overall damage estimate by $800,000.

New estimates indicate the huge explosion caused $4.4 million in damage to 86 homes in the neighborhood off Sherman Drive and Stop 11 Road. Five homes are gone, and another 10 suffered such major structural damage that they might need to be demolished.

“There’s ongoing assessments trying to get an accurate dollar loss,” Indianapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Rita Burris said. “They’ve been able to go and get a better look at some houses.”

A massive explosion that rattled windows miles away killed a Greenwood elementary school teacher and her husband, destroyed five homes and damaged dozens more. City officials have since determined that 93 of the homes are safe to return to, though the majority suffered at least a broken window, a bent garage door or other minor damage.

Burris said that the city is going to bring in additional investigators to help process the scene faster.

They’re also planning to bring in backhoes and other excavation equipment to move debris so they can search areas that were previously

inaccessible.

Burris said that 30 police, fire and federal investigators have been working through the night to process the site and collect debris. Police have cordoned off 13 homes near the center of the blast on Fieldfare Way as they search for

fragments of appliances, pipes or other clues that might point to what caused the deadly

explosion.

Two additional homes were added to the investigation zone Friday. Investigators found debris on those properties that potentially could help them tell  how the massive blast originated, Burris said.

The wreckage-strewn neighborhood remains dangerous for the swarms of investigators and workers. An investigator suffered a concussion after he was hit by falling debris. Paramedics checked and treated the investigator at the scene.

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