Officials Investigate Explosion in Southwest Cedar Rapids

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Officers are investigating a home explosion on the city's southwest side.

It happened around 2:30 Monday afternoon at the Prairie Oaks Manufactured Housing Community at 4420 Bowling Street Southwest. The fire department found evidence of some sort of explosion and fire inside the mobile home.

Throughout the evening investigators spent the night executing a search warrant. An officer and neighbors on the scene said investigators pulled out chemicals and other items. At one point, the fire department came back to make sure there was not another fire hazard. Cedar Rapid Police Department’s Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said conducting a search warrant is routine any time there's a suspicious fire.

"I was just sitting in my house and I heard a big boom and next thing I know, I went outside to look around, didn't see anything and next thing I know here comes the fire trucks and smoke billowing out of the house,” said Neighbor Tracy Ryan.

A neighborhood on the southwest side of town quickly filled with fire fighters and police officers Monday. A neighbor called 911 when an explosion sounded in the neighborhood.

The back wall was partially blown out. The area on the inside that that would involve is the master bathroom and master bedroom,” said Cedar Rapids Fire Department’s Greg Buelow.

"We heard a boom and next thing we know the windows were gone and the fire trucks and men were here,” said Prairie Oaks Resident Danell Kittelson.

Authorities said fire fighters put out some flames in the bathroom. Then, they moved everyone back for their own safety. A handful of residents were even evacuated.

They said you have to be evicted, for now, until the air clears up I guess,” Kittelson said.

The fire department said four people were inside when the blast happened. Two of them were females: A 30-year-old and a 7-year-old. They were both taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Crews say two males: A 34-year-old and 12-year-old also had injuries. They, however, did not go to the hospital. All four are expected to be okay.

This is the second time fire engines have filled the streets of this community. Authorities said just down the road another mobile home went up in flames and meth is to blame.

"Kind of crazy after the last one that burnt down out here a couple months ago,” Ryan said.

The cause of Monday’s explosion at Prairie Oaks is still under investigation. CRPD Sgt. Hamblin said no arrests have been made.

An investigator with the fire department and the police department’s bomb squad are involved in piecing together what happened.
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