WARREN - Fire officials said they don't know what caused a vacant Homewood Avenue S.E. house to explode Friday evening.
Assistant Chief Orneil Heller said the 859 Homewood Ave. S.E. house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about 10 p.m. No one was injured, he said.
Heller said there was no way to tell immediately what caused the fire. Generally, a natural gas explosion blows a house to to pieces, but this house remained pretty much intact, although it did move from its foundation, he said.
Several neighbors said they heard and felt the explosion.
''It knocked me off my couch,'' said Heather Shuman, who lives about five houses up from the home. She said she went outside, saw the house in flames and called 911.
Next door neighbor Alles Bruno said the blast knocked out the side windows of her home. She was not hurt but said she was shaken up.
Firefighters were checking her house late Friday to make sure there was not more major damage, and neighbors were also checking on her to make sure she was all right.
Bruno said she saw someone at the home earlier in the day and when she went outside to look, the person retreated into an SUV. She said there have been people at the home before because the neighbor has been trying to fix it up to rent it or sell it.
Another neighbor, Wally Everett, who was inside when she hear the boom, said the house has been vacant for about a year and a half.
Jameka Taylor lives about three houses up and said she saw someone working in the yard earlier in the day.
When the explosion came, it rocked her and she at first thought it was her children upstairs playing, she said.
''It was just a big boom,'' Taylor said. ''I flew up the steps to make sure my kids were okay. It (the house) just lit up. The whole house was engulfed in flames.''