ATTICA, Ind. — Crews continued to work the scene of a building explosion and fire in Attica, Ind., Tuesday afternoon.
No one was believed to be inside the one-time church at 700 S. Perry St. at the time of the explosion, reported just before 11 a.m. EST Tuesday. Attica Mayor Robert Shepherd said emergency crews were working to get final confirmation of that belief.
A search and rescue team from Lafayette, Ind., was called to the site as a precaution. Current owners Harvey and Kathy Lange told Attica officials the building was vacant and was being used only for storage.
According to Shepherd, it is believed the incident was a gas explosion of some kind. Debris was still smoldering at the scene of the explosion Tuesday afternoon and there were reports of a gas odor at the scene and in adjacent homes.
Crews were attempting to drain the basement of the structure to begin investigations on a cause for the explosion and resulting fire, which caused the building to collapse.
As a result of the gas odors, Shepherd said homes within a block of the explosion site had been evacuated. The Attica Hotel and the United Methodist Church in Attica were welcoming evacuated residents as a spot to stay warm until they were allowed to return to their homes.
A time frame for when residents could return to their homes was not immediately known early Tuesday afternoon, Shepherd said.
A gas leak was found in the lines a short distance from the explosion site. Shepherd said personnel were working to determine whether the leak was caused by the explosion or the explosion was caused by the leak.
Shepherd said he was not aware of any injuries as a result of the explosion.