Explosion destroys two Edwardsburg homes

CASS COUNTY, Mich. -- Two homes went up in flames in Edwardsburg, Mich.  The fires started because of an explosion in a home located at 67272 Oil City Road.  The strength of the explosion carried the flames over to a second home next door.

Both homes were completely engulfed in flames and are a total loss.  Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames for over an hour.

Crews say that when they arrived, power lines had been taken down in the fire.  Several live power lines were in the road.  AEP was contacted to shut of the power to all three homes.

Phyllis Toney, the homeowner, said she was outside raking leaves when she heard a loud boom.  That is when the house collapsed.

"I feel like I have nothing left. How would you feel if everything burned up? I mean, I have nothing," says Toney.

Phyllis does have her life, all because she did not put off cleaning up her yard. Seconds after grabbing her rack, Phyllis was watching the powerful explosion tear her home apart. Suddenly, her home was engulfed in monstrous flames that quickly spread over to her next-door neighbor's house.

"I am very glad that I was outside when the thing decided to blow. It just blew, and like I said, I looked up and the walls were falling out.

"When it exploded all the walls blew out and it was pretty much gone," says Edwardsburg Fire Chief Harold Eltzroth.

Firefighters says they knew this was anything but normal when they saw the amount of smoke curling up into the air well before they even got to the neighborhood.

Crews from Cassopolis and Penn Township also worked to put out the blaze, but right now fire officials say they are still puzzled by this explosion.

"I have been through the home. We are still trying to determine the actually cause of the fire,” says Eltzroth. “We really don't know, one appliance was gas-fired, but again we really do not know."

However, the investigation could be difficult. Firefighters may never know the cause because there is nothing left or the home.

Still, investigators will be back out to the house, sifting through the rumble, searching for any clues that will help them find the cause behind the blast.

As for Phyllis and her next door neighbors, they are just happy they are both OK tonight.



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