CLEVELAND (AP) – Investigators examined the burned wreckage of a home Tuesday to determine what caused an explosion and extensive fire that killed a family of four in northeast Ohio.
The bodies of a couple and their two daughters, ages 8 and 12, were found on the first floor of the home in Northfield Center Township, about 20 miles south of downtown Cleveland, township Fire Chief Frank Risko said Tuesday. The Summit County medical examiner hasn’t yet released the names of the family members.
The explosion that rocked the neighborhood was reported around 8:30 p.m. Monday. Risko said he arrived at the scene just minutes after neighbors called 911 and that the house was fully engulfed in flames. Three investigators from the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office were combing through the wreckage, Risko said.
The bodies of the mother and her two daughters were found at the front of the house, and the father in the rear of the home.
A spokesman for Dominion East Ohio Gas said investigators from the company are at the scene. WEWS-TV reports that Risko has said the explosion doesn’t appear to have been caused by a gas leak.
Northfield Center Township is about 20 miles south of downtown Cleveland.
Neighbor Randy Nickschinski, who lives two doors away, told Cleveland.com that he and his son, Nate, rushed to the house and kicked in the front door, allowing the family’s dog to escape. Nickschinski, his son and another neighbor went inside and yelled for the family, but no one answered.
“There was a lot of fire, a lot of debris,” Nickschinski said. “We were yelling and nothing. We were just looking everywhere.”
Nickschinski’s daughter, Danielle, told Cleveland.com she had babysat for the family’s two girls.
“They were very outgoing and nice,” she said. “They always wanted to play.”
County property records show that explosion occurred in a development in which the homes were built in the mid-1990s.