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Explosion Destroys Home In Hebron, Indiana

(CBS) -- A huge explosion leveled a home in Hebron, Indiana and caused massive damage to other homes nearby.

CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports investigators suspect natural gas may be the cause.

Dick East's cherished log house, the home he built after retirement, took the brunt of a heavy blast.

"Blew that window completely out, blew that one half out, put a stone or that big piece of wood through that one," East said.

But, it was the two story farmhouse just across the street that was totally levelled by a booming explosion.

"About 5:55 last night, we were sitting in our back room and the biggest blast I have ever heard in my life went off," East said.

Fire crews poured water on the smoldering remains, but there was practically nothing left to salvage. Crews searched for bodies, but found none.

"From what I understand, it was vacant, nobody was living here," said Greg Eckhardt of the Porter County Hazmat Team. "We're just trying to ascertain who was in here possibly last and if they did anything."

Siding and insulation hung from the trees, but except for a staircase to nowhere, and piles of debris, there was little to remind anyone a home once stood here.

Neighbors say, a series of tenants had lived at the two-story rental farmhouse, but it was empty because the last renters moved out, complaining about an infestation of squirrels.

Investigators are focusing on the natural gas lines, but it could be days before an official verdict on a cause. Still, Dick East has already reached his conclusion.

"I knew as soon as I heard the boom it had to be gas because there's no car wreck that that can make that kind of noise," East said.

Residents say the explosion was so loud, it could be heard for miles.

The state fire marshal and the natural gas provider, NIPSCO, are also involved in the investigation.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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