UPDATE: Neighborhood rattled by explosion in SW Wichita

By: Jordan Shefte - Email
By: Jordan Shefte - Email

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WICHITA, Kan. — Working overnights around the Fourth of July, Eric Bruce hears non-stop noise.

"It's constant, all night long you hear the mortar shells going off, and blackcats," Bruce said. "But this was something else."

As he was pulling into work last night, he heard something he knew was not a firework.

"It was just a huge boom, like I said almost like those big firework shows, it rattled my whole truck."

The startling sound, could have possibly been a home exploding about a block away. Crews were called out to a collapsed home in the 1500 block of South Handley late last night, and had to return a second time to put out a fire that sparked up. Neighbors have no doubt this possible explosion was the source of the noise.

"It was big, I mean it shook the whole neighborhood," said neighbor Jerry Elmore. "And I guess the house next door blew the windows out of it, so it was a good one."

"It was this huge boom, the house shook really bad," said neighbor Calvin Reedy. "I ran outside, the neighbors were all out looking down towards that house and see a big plume of smoke going up over the houses."

The home was vacant, so no one was injured, but the sudden collapse seems unusual to those who pass by every day.

"Surprised, it leveled it, I wasn't expecting that," Elmore said. "I thought it was a transformer."

While Eric Bruce knows the rest of his holiday won't be quiet, he's hoping it will at least be a bit more uneventful.

"I get to go spend some time with the family, shoot off some fireworks later, hopefully no more huge explosions."

The fire department and the natural gas company are investigating this possible explosion.


Previous story:

Two separate agencies are investigating a possible explosion at an unoccupied southwest Wichita home.

"It appears that it exploded," Acting Battalion Chief Stacie Wespy said, "but that is to be determined."

Fire crews were called twice in about 90 minutes to the 1500 block of South Handley, near Harry and Seneca. Firefighters say the first call came in the 12:00 midnight hour; they found the house already collapsed, with a small fire to put out. A second call was sounded after 1:00 a.m., when that fire flared up again.

Firefighters watched the home until well after sunrise, to make sure nothing flared up again. Daylight showed the force of the explosion, as you could see through the back window from the damage.

Kansas Natural Gas plans its own investigation of what happened. Gas service to the home was shut off after the explosion.

Scene of home explosion


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