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Investigators search for cause of blast on Gale Court


Trish Bennett, Editor

The State Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to investigate the cause of a blast that damaged this Gale Court apartment early Tuesday morning. (Photo by Trish Bennett)

CIRCLEVILLE – An 84-year-old man escaped without injury early Tuesday after an explosion rocked the vacant rental unit next door.

Crews from the Circleville Fire Department extinguished the fire at 110 Gale Court but have called in the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal to investigate the cause of the blast.

William Hoop said he was sleeping in his apartment at 108 Gale Court when he was awakened by the boom.

“I thought someone threw something through a window,” Hoop said. “I got up, but I couldn’t get out the front door because it had been pushed in.”

Hoop’s neighbor, Brad Hebb, said he had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette about 5:10 a.m. when the blast occurred. He had to kick in the front door of Hoop’s apartment to help him escape, but neither suffered any injuries.

Chief Marc Zingarelli, Circleville Fire Department, said his crews arrived on the scene to find a small amount of fire and heavy smoke inside the double home. It wasn’t until they opened up the ceiling that they found the majority of the flames burning inside the attic.

The initial blast buckled the front wall of the home, but otherwise the building remains intact. Hoops said the units are owned by Ohio Christian University.

Zingarelli said the State Fire Marshal is expected on scene Tuesday.

Hoops said he had not yet been able to inspect the damage inside his unit by about 9 a.m. Tuesday, but he is being assisted by the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal