Both victims identified in house explosion; woman critically injured

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Two people were killed and four others injured after a home exploded in Benton Township.

Witnesses say the could hear the explosion several miles away.

Emergency crews were called to the home at 1096 North Euclid at 11:41 p.m. Saturday after a deputy witnessed the home explode.

ABC 57 News was the first media outlet in Michiana to break this story before midnight on our ABC 57 Facebook page. Details were tough to come by early in the investigation. 

Family members told ABC 57 News that the two people that died are Josh Hoffman, 27 and Cindy Tuner. Turner's age wasn't immediately available.

According to family, Josh had cerebral palsy and was not able to walk.

ABC 57 News has also learned that Norma Hoffman, 59, was critically injured with reported burns over 90% of her body. Hoffman is said to be unconscious at this time and being treated at the burn unit at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

Just before 6 a.m. Sunday we talked with an investigator with the Berrien County Sheriffs Office that was able to confirm over the phone that two people were killed and four others injured.

According to the investigator it was a family that lived in the home, it appears that five people inside the home were related and there was possibly a friend visiting.

The four people that were injured have also been identified, Norma Hoffman, 59, Eric Turner, 7, Lisa Turner, 26 and Melinda Ross, 36.

We have not been able to confirm the relationship of the victims, other than we do know that Lisa Turner was the mother to Eric.We are told that two families lived inside the home.

It's reported that Lisa Turner, Eric Turner and Melinda Ross have all been treated and released from Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Ross suffered burns and smoke inhalation, Both Lisa & Eric Turner suffered from smoke inhalation.

Emergency crews found the four surviving victims outside the home when they arrived. They told emergency workers that two people were trapped inside.

The survivors told investigators that they awoke to find the house filled with smoke and a downstairs bedroom on fire. As they were running out of the house there was an explosion and the flames quickly spread across the rest of the house.

According to officials there was oxygen in use by one of the residents in the home due to a medical condition.

It's reported that a cigarette may have been to blame for the fire/explosion--we are working right now to confirm that information.

A fire marshall was called in from Paw Paw and was still on the scene as of 6 a.m. Sunday. An official cause of the fire won't be released until the fire marshall completes his investigation.

The injured survivors are being assisted right now by the American Red Cross.

Stay with ABC 57 News for the latest details on this breaking news story.

ABC 57's Rachel Glaser will be leaving South Bend and head to Benton Township in a couple of hours. You can follow Rachel on Facebook by clicking here.

We will post the latest details on our Web channel, Facebook page and of course have the latest details tonight on ABC 57 News at 6 & 11 p.m. with Brian Dorman.



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