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Explosion: ‘It will never be the same’


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Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers check the ID of a motorist wanting access to the Richmond Hill subdivision Monday on the southside. Access to the area is still limited to residents and emergency personnel.
PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON
Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers check the ID of a motorist wanting access to the Richmond Hill subdivision Monday on the southside. Access to the area is still limited to residents and emergency personnel. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

Richmond Hill resident Shawn Sullivan talks about his home that was damaged by an explosion Saturday.
PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON
Richmond Hill resident Shawn Sullivan talks about his home that was damaged by an explosion Saturday. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON


Planes bound for the Greenwood Municipal Airport frequently fly over the Richmond Hill neighborhood on the southside, so resident Shawn Sullivan assumed the explosion he heard Saturday night was a plane that had crashed into someone’s house.

Officials have ruled out a plane crash, but investigators are still trying to determine what caused the massive explosion that leveled two homes and damaged nearly 80 others.

Sullivan said he felt safe returning and was glad to be back so quickly after the devastation.

He wasn’t home late Saturday night, when the explosion flatted homes on Fieldfare Way and broke out windows blocks away. A neighbor called him and told him to get back immediately to see what happened.

He rushed home to find his garage door buckled. Much of the inside of his house is cracking.

“The carpet’s pulling away,” he said. “The railing’s pulling away. My whole mantle came away from the wall.”

He and his family were able to return home Sunday, after Indianapolis code enforcement workers determined the house was structurally sound and safe to live in.

Insurance adjusters came by Monday to estimate the damage.

Sullivan said he’s been impressed with city firefighters, code enforcement staff and police officers.

He said they were working hard to keep the neighborhood safe from looters by guarding it around the clock.

He has to show two forms of identification proving he is a resident to get in the only entrance.

That gives him peace of mind, he said.

Sullivan does worry about what long-term effect the explosion will have on the close-knit neighborhood. He wonders if he and his neighbors can ever get back to normal.

“When you have devastation like this, and it seems like a whole block of houses are gone, it will never be the same,” he said.

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