Explosion destroys house, damages several other buildings in east Columbus

Explosion destroys house, damages several other buildings in east Columbususe explosion 6 pm (Geoff)

Two people were critically injured after a house explosion in east Columbus Friday morning.

Firefighters say preliminary investigation shows it may have been a natural gas explosion set off by scrappers taking metal from the home.

The explosion was reported near the intersection of Atcheson Street and North 20th Street just east of downtown Columbus around 8:15 a.m. People within a couple mile radius said they heard and felt the explosion. Neighbors blocks away said it shook their homes and even woke some people up.

The building was supposed to be vacant, but it has had issues with people breaking in, according to the Columbus Fire Department. Witnesses said they saw a man and woman in the rubble, with both appearing to have burned clothes and injuries.

Columbus Fire Chief Steve Martin said two people were taken to the hospital in critical condition with burns and broken bones. It's unclear whether the victims were in the house at the time of the explosion, or if they were passing by when it happened. As of noon Friday, both were still fighting for their lives.

Bonnie Evans, who was in a nearby chapel at the time of the explosion, said after the loud boom, she didn't see any flames, just smoke.

"It was scary! And I fell down on the floor. I didn't want everything to fall on me," said Evans.

Debris from the house was scattered across the block, and a neighboring duplex had a wall sheared off.

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to update this breaking news story.

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