Neighbors Recover from Home Explosion in Decatur - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Neighbors Recover from Home Explosion in Decatur

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Sifting through the remains.  Melanie Bracy spent her Saturday afternoon cleaning up what's left of her home.  It caught on fire, Friday, after her next door neighbor's house exploded.

"We're trying to get stuff out, thinking that we might be able to salvage some of it," said Bracy. "Clean it up. But it's not looking good."

The home that exploded was located on the 2100 block of North Monroe Street.  It is now completely leveled, but Bracy's home is one of the four other structures damaged in the blast.  

"I was just sitting there working on an essay for sociology, and the explosion just happened and threw me across the room," said Bracy.

Just two houses north of the explosion sits a home that, for the most part, went untouched.  However, the owner, Clementine Rueff, says the blast shook her home, leaving her terrified. 

"All the sudden there's this boom," said Rueff.  "And I thought we were being bombed."

Bracy said, "The initial blast was gas first, and it burned my skin and my arms."

The Decatur Fire Department has determined the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak.  Many believe the gas pipes in the home were stolen.

"That's what the fire department was speculating on yesterday, said Bracy.  "They think that someone had gone in and stole copper and the house filled up with gas."

Battalion chief, Richard Pruitt said, "There's some speculation that there might have been gas lines removed from the house prior to.  Allowing the house to fill with gas, but that has not been confirmed."

As for Melanie Bracy's future..

"We have no idea what happens next," said Bracy.  "No idea." 

Right now she's staying with family and is hopeful that things will get better.
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