Investigators have ruled out the possibility of an explosive device or clandestine drug lab causing a blast that leveled a house Monday and left several more at least temporarily uninhabitable, authorities said.
The announcement came in a Thursday morning written statement provided by a police spokeswoman and issued jointly with the city of Casper and its fire department. According to the statement, an investigation by local, state and federal agencies had identified the likely origin of the explosion in an area of the leveled home’s basement.
The exact cause has not yet been announced. Authorities say they still need to do further forensic and laboratory testing before making a definite determination.
The investigation came in response to an explosion early Monday afternoon just west of Sunrise Shopping Center. The blast destroyed a south Casper home and closed Arroyo Street for two blocks immediately south of 39th Street. Authorities have said they do not believe anybody was injured or killed. The blast rattled windows throughout the area and could be felt at least a mile away.
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Earlier this week, authorities said five other houses in the area had been deemed at least temporarily uninhabitable. A final determination as to the houses’ habitability will be made by private building inspectors, Rebekah Ladd, the spokeswoman, said Thursday.
Casper Fire-EMS, the Casper Police Department, the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have contributed to the investigation. Black Hills Energy was also conducting an investigation of its own.
Although a fire spokesman said from the scene that natural gas may have caused or contributed to the blast, authorities have not yet announced whether gas was ultimately involved.