Authorities in Kettering, Ohio, are investigating an apparent natural gas explosion that leveled a house early Dec. 5 and threw its occupant, a 58-year-old woman, into a neighbor’s yard.
The Montgomery County Coroner confirmed to the press that Darlene Baumgarder died from injuries she sustained in the Dec. 6 natural gas explosion. According to Dayton, Ohio’s WDTN 2 News, no others are believed to have been in the house at the time of the blast, which completely leveled the house and damaged other homes in the area.
The Kettering Fire Department told WDTN that Ms. Baumgarder was found in her neighbor’s backyard, about 15 to 20 feet or so from her house. She was taken to Kettering Medical Center in critical condition following the natural gas explosion but died of her injuries.
According to preliminary findings by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, Ms. Baumgarder died of multiple blunt-force trauma and thermal injuries, the Dayton Daily News reported.
“The neighborhood is in shock from this. This is a tragic event but we will do everything we can to figure out exactly what caused this. So it never happens again or we can figure out how to kept his from happening,” Chief Tom Butts of the Kettering Fire Department told WDTN.
Flames from the explosion stretched 50 feet in the air when firefighters reached the scene just after 4:30 a.m. Debris from the destroyed house was strewn about the neighborhood.
The Dayton Daily News spoke with Scott Bennett, an investigator hired by a law firm to probe the cause of the natural gas explosion.
Mr. Bennett, a former Dayton fire investigator and president of the International Association of Arson Investigators, told the Dayton Daily News that several parties will likely investigate the explosion and that the probes could last for months.
Mr. Bennett told the Dayton Daily News that investigators hired by the victim’s family, the insurer of the home, utilities companies, manufacturers of the gas-fueled appliances that were in the home, and even neighbors would be among those looking for answers in the coming days and weeks.