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Investigators were back on the scene Monday afternoon at a vacant houseat 2196 S. Turner Road in Austintown.
Fire officials were called to the home Sunday around 8 p.m. to investigate a fire. But fire officials soon discovered it was more than a fire they were dealing with.
“When we got there the garage door had been blown out and several of the windows were missing, so we quickly realized we were dealing with an explosion,” said Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost.
Part of the home was knocked off its foundation. Frost said copper thieves ripped out the gas lines, which caused the house to fill up with gas and explode.
The fire chief said vacant homes and homes for sale are an easy target for copper thieves. He said it’s important for homeowners who live next door to a vacant home to keep an eye on it so a similar situation does not happen.
“That’s about the only way we are going to control any of this is the neighbors being vigilant and reporting anything they see, especially on these vacant houses,” Frost said.
Erica Smith, a neighbor, said the explosion made her a little concerned because the fire easily could have spread to the house next door. She said it is alarming that someone would put so many lives in danger over a few bucks.
Frost said no one was hurt in the explosion, but damage to the house is extensive and it could end up being a total loss.