Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Emporia explosion probe continues

Names of deceased withheld pending autopsies in Topeka

August 1, 2001


— Investigators sifted through information and debris as they sought the cause of a weekend explosion and fire at an apartment building that killed two people and injured seven others.

The names of the victims of Sunday's blast, an adult and an infant, will not be released until after autopsies are completed in Topeka, officials said.

Witnesses said they heard a woman calling for help in the five-unit building but could not reach her because of the fire's intensity. They said the woman lived with a 1-year-old child.

The explosion at the building in the Eastgate Plaza apartment complex hit just before 9 a.m. Sunday.

It was in the same neighborhood where a home was leveled in an Aug. 1, 2000, explosion. The same shift of firefighters was called out for both explosions.

Monday, investigators were on the scene from the Emporia Police and Fire departments, the Kansas Fire Marshall's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"Right now we are forming a task force with all the agencies involved," said ATF spokesman Larry Scott.

Investigators will work their way inward toward the spot where the explosion was centered.

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Binder said Monday afternoon a crane was brought to the scene to be used in the search through the wreckage and to help determine if the building is stable.

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