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Firefighters respond to a gas leak on Kern Road

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend firefighters responded to a home on the corner of Kern Road and Carroll Street in St. Joseph County Friday around 9:45am for a burglary and arson call.

But when they arrived, they found the potential for an explosion.

Southwest Central Territory Batt. Chief Dale Wedel said whomever was in the home left before his crews arrived and also left the knobs of the gas stove on and put combustible material on top of the stove. He explained someone called the Southwest Central Territory fire house non-emergency number and reported there was a fire and burglary in progress.

When fire crews arrived he said they did not see smoke, fire, nor any signs of forced entry, instead they saw a 17-year-old girl who claimed to have lived at the house but didn't feel it was safe to go in.

Wedel said, "there was a female there that stated that things didn't look right, so we started to check things out and we found that there was a heavy concentration of natural gas in the house and it appeared that the kitchen stove might had been left on."

Nipsco crews shut off the gas and capped it, which Wedel explained, can't be turned back on until the home owner contacts Nipsco.

At this point the fire department says their part in this investigation is finished and they've turned the case over to the Saint Joseph County Sheriff's Department. Detectives assigned to the case were not available for comment on Friday.

However neighbors who live near by are counting their blessings that the fire department prevented a potential home explosion. Dennis McCabee who lives next door said, "I just seen a bunch of people around and cops, they said there was a gas leak and somebody had broke in and vandalized the home, to my understanding they had the stove on or turned it on to apparently blow the place up evidently." 

Other neighbors who stopped to talk to our ABC 57 crew on the scene seemed shocked something like this was going on in their neighborhood. It is not clear whether the home was currently occupied or if the family who used to live there recently moved out.



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