AUSTINTOWN - Copper thieves are being blamed for a gas explosion Sunday night at a vacant house on Turner Road.
Officials said they believe copper thieves broke into the home at 2196 S. Turner Road and ripped out gas lines before the house exploded about 8 p.m. Austintown fire officials said the house was knocked off its foundation after it filled with gas. It wasn't immediately known what ignited the gas. No injuries were reported.
Jim Mosier, 46, and his family were next door when the explosion occurred.
Tribune Chronicle / Ashley Newman
A vacant house on Turner Road in Austintown exploded late Sunday, blowing out the windows and lifting the home off its foundation.
"My mother-in-law's house is next door to the house that had the problem," Mosier said. "We were actually at her house about 7:30 and there was a big boom. It wasn't real loud, but it shook the house."
Mosier's 14-year-old son, Matthew, likened the blast to something striking the house.
"It was as if a big tree branch or something hit our house," Matthew Mosier said. "Not loud, but you could feel it."
Jim Mosier then went outside and noticed the back window frame had been blown off the house. The back yard was also littered with broken glass.
"I saw smoke coming out of the back window," the elder Mosier said. "We thought the house was on fire."
Mosier quickly called 911 to report the incident. The home has been vacant for about two months, he said.
He also said his daughter heard an explosion earlier in the day.
"She said she heard a loud bang and glass breaking at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon," Mosier said. "We looked outside, but it looked windy and we didn't see anything. We just figured something got blown over."
Officials confirmed there may have been more than one explosion at the house. They said there was some smoke, but no fire. Officials had gas service to the house disconnected.
Township fire and police officials are investigating the matter. They said that as of Monday, they had no suspects.
Tribune reporter Virginia Shank contributed to this report.