December 22, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
24°F
test

Officials say natural gas to blame for Columbia Avenue explosion

Firefighters work the scene of a home explosion on Columbia Avenue in Elyria.

Fire investigators say natural gas caused a December home explosion in Elyria. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

An unintended natural gas explosion is to blame for the Dec. 20 destruction of a Columbia Avenue house, Elyria Fire Marshal Carl Keith said.

Fire officials are seeking the point of origin and what triggered the explosion, Keith said via email.

“At this point we believe all interested parties (insurance companies representing residents who have incurred a loss) have been accounted for,” he said in an email response.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 9:45 p.m. after the explosion, which was felt as far as Sheffield, Grafton and North Ridgeville, sent shock waves through the city. The explosion caused severe damage to 116 Columbia Ave., as well as neighboring homes.

No one was home at 116 Columbia, which neighbors said was for sale.

Keith said the Elyria Fire Department is awaiting an examination of natural gas piping and components in and around 116 Columbia. That will take a month or so to complete, he said.

Since the explosion, two families — the Mickolick and Page families — were forced to relocate after severe structural damage to their homes. The homes, on each side of 116 Columbia Ave., have since been demolished.

Columbia Gas spokesman Ray Frank said the energy company is cooperating in the investigation.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.