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Estimate on Indianapolis blast damage up to $4.4 million

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, November 16, 2012 - 3:31 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — The damage estimate from the deadly Indianapolis neighborhood explosion increased by about one-fifth to $4.4 million, investigators said Friday.

Inspectors were able to check out more of the properties in the south-side subdivision that were damaged in Saturday night's explosion, thus raising the new estimate from the previous $3.6 million, said city fire Capt. Rita Burris.

"Some of the properties weren't even shored up enough for them to access and get damage assessments," Burris said.

Officials have classified 32 houses as unsafe; five others were destroyed and 10 had major damage. City inspectors might order the demolition of up to five more houses and insurance companies might have others torn down, Burris said.

The family of the couple killed when their house was destroyed sent out a statement Friday thanking friends, neighbors and the community for their support. Jennifer Longworth was a 36-year-old second-grade teacher and her husband, John Dion Longworth, was 34 and the director of product development and technology for tech company Indy Audio Labs.

Their funeral is scheduled for Monday at St. Barnabas Catholic Church — the Indianapolis church where they were married 11 years ago.

Burris said some 30 investigators continued to work Friday to determine what caused the explosion and heavy equipment was being brought in to help move debris.

Crews hoped to wrap up investigative work in the neighborhood in the coming days, but don't have a timeline for ruling on the cause.

"They are trying to expedite as quickly as they can, but it's a painstaking process," Burris said.