Updated: Monday, 12 Nov 2012, 2:51 PM EST
Published : Monday, 12 Nov 2012, 7:09 AM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - As the investigation into the deadly explosion on the south side of Indianapolis on Saturday night continues, the city is hoping to answer questions for the nearly three dozen families who still haven’t been allowed to return to their homes, but Citizens Energy was providing little information publicly.
The exact cause of the explosion has yet to be discovered, though Rep. Andre Carson said Homeland Security investigators’ preliminary findings indicate it was not a bomb or a meth lab. Citizens Energy has said thus far they have found no indication of a gas leak prior to the explosion.
Monday, however, 24-Hour News 8 learned the family who lived in one of the homes that exploded may have noticed a possible gas smell . It was unclear, however, whether the utility was notified.
Citizens Gas: No comment
A Citizens Gas spokesperson tells 24-Hour News 8 he cannot comment on whether utility crews had worked on gas lines at one of the destroyed homes in the Richmond Hill neighborhood just days before Saturday’s explosion.
Sunday, Citizens’ Gas reported the utility had not received any calls from the neighborhood in the past two days in regards to neighbors smelling gas.
When questioned Monday whether gas crews had visited and worked on gas lines at one of the demolished homes last week, Citizens spokesperson Dan Considine said he could not comment and referred all questions to the Department of Homeland Security.
A briefing from the Department of Homeland Security is expected Monday afternoon.
The Department of Code Enforcement planned two meetings Monday for victims, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 6 p.m., both at Southport Presbyterian Church, 7525 McFarland Blvd.
Riggs: Public safety is top priority
Troy Riggs, Indianapolis' new public safety director, said public safety remains the top priority as officials continue their investigation. Access to the Richmond Hill area will remain restricted for security purposes and to ensure public safety, as there are continued concerns about the condition of many of the damaged homes, he said.
Rita Burris, Indianapolis Fire Department spokesperson, said residents of the damaged homes who wanted to return to retrieve possessions would be escorted by IFD and Code Enforcement personnel. Residents will only have an hour inside the house, Burris said.
"Our biggest priority is keeping them safe," she said.
The homes have been divided into different color-coded zones and sub-zones according to the extend of damage.
The city said 80 homes were damaged in the blast that killed a Greenwood teacher and her husband and destroyed two homes. More than 30 homes may be so damaged that they’ll have to be torn down.
Greenwood schools were on a two-hour delay Monday after the death of Jennifer Longworth, who had taught at Southwest Elementary School for 12 years.
How to help
Victims were also offered breakfast through 8:30 a.m. Monday morning at Southport Presbyterian, which has become a donation center. The Red Cross, however, notes that supplies are plentiful, and monetary gifts are the best way to help right now . If you want to donate, go to redcross.org . Gift cards to stores and restaurants can also be dropped off at the church.
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