November 25, 2014


Vacant house explodes on Columbia Avenue

explosion photo

ELYRIA -– Christopher and Jenny Willard stood across the street from the house they once lived in at 116 Columbia Ave., Elyria as firefighters, police officers and representatives from Columbia Gas swarmed the neighborhood.

At approximately 9:45 p.m. Friday the vacant house exploded, creating strong vibrations that were felt as far away as Wolfey’s Pub near state Route 57 and Elyria Catholic.

The Willards, who now reside in Grafton, according to the Lorain County auditor’s website, did not wish to comment, but stood in shock as firefighters climbed over the rubble that was strewn across the street into neighboring yards.

“We aren’t ready to talk,” the woman said.

The woman did confirm that neighbors contacted her and her husband.

At one point, Christopher Willard picked up a piece of wood and turned it over, trying to think what happened.

Insulation clung to tree limbs and glass shattered onto front porches across the street.

The house, with a market value of $103,710, was destroyed.

Mike and Diane Page, along with their son Andrew Page, resided in 112 Columbia Ave.

“We were all sitting in the living room, there was a huge boom, the house went dark and began shaking,” Andrew Page said.

Mike and Diane Page sat on the front porch of the house across the street, watching firefighters enter their home to make sure it was safe.

“We have two cats,” Diane Page said, as her neighbor put shoes on her bare feet.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or

  • Lynn Crevda

    This was felt in Sheffield village..get it right..smh

    • CV

      Yeah, I heard the blast and it rattled our windows and doors on French Creek!

    • MZee

      Lynn, it was probably felt in a lot of places, and odds are she didn’t call or be notified by each one to know. Lighten up.

  • resident

    Felt in center of North Ridgeville also

  • bigmacky

    smh? what is that – anyways – I hope no one was injured and damage was limited to property only – because property can be replaced

  • taxpayer89

    if the house was vacant and for sale, wouldn’t the gas have been shut off?

    • Melissa Merrill Snyder

      Probably not. Since it’s winter, you’d need some heat to keep things from freezing, etc.

    • MZee

      it’s a “safe investment” to leave it on to allow the heat to be set as low as possible. Most old dial thermostats don’t go much below like 55 or so… digital ones can be set lower. If my rental (ok, technically it’s a property I hope to sell in a dying town that no one is moving into) is empty, I set the heat to 40 deg in the winter. This keeps the further out places above 32, which prevents my water and heat pipes. I do get to “write off” the expenses as a business loss, but it doesn’t make me money – it just saves me paying 15% in federal taxes on the “profit” difference (rental income minus utility expense, repairs, and property taxes).

      If pipes freeze they crack. Come warmer temps, the ice thaws, and you get leaks… leaks no one may be around to find, meaning constantly running water.

      • Dave Sommers

        Are you the Mike that owns 8 rental properties I think you’ve mentioned before? I think we’ve met.

      • taxpayer89

        ok, I never thought of that. just glad no one was living in there at the time.

  • Bob Owens


  • Pete

    Sounds interesting, not ready to comment until they get story straight? Method lab, or insurance scasm? Just not sounding right.

  • Michelle

    The house has been vacant for five plus years..the owners left it and foreclosed on it

    • Dave Sommers

      Why would the owners leave and foreclose on their old home?