Attempted Burglary Believed to Have Resulted in Explosion in Mattoon House

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Published on October 1 2013 1:18 pm
Last Updated on October 1 2013 2:52 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

(WHAT REMAINS OF 1816 ESSEX AFTER MONDAY NIGHT'S EXPLOSION)

Mattoon authorities are investigating whether copper thieves caused an explosion in a home late Monday night.

Mattoon firefighters were called to the unoccupied home at 1816 Essex at 10:45pm.  Mattoon Fire Chief Tony Nichols said a lot of damage was done, saying the foundation is gone and the walls of the structure are bowed out.

Nichols said as firefighters began exploring the scene, there were indications that criminal activity might have been involved so Mattoon police were called in to investigate.  Piles of copper were found inside the house and a gas line was cut.  Authorities are investigating whether the house filled with gas and then something triggered the explosion.

Nichols said a subject believed involved in the incident was being treated at a hospital for injuries.  He said the subject went to the hospital on his own for treatment.  Nichols also said authorities believe that more than one person might have been involved.

Nichols said the prior occupant of the rental home had moved out about a week and a half ago.  He said the owner had done some cleanup in the house, but it is currently unoccupied.

The matter is being treated as an attempted burglary.  No surrounding structures were damaged by the explosion.

Mattoon firefighters were on the scene until 4am today.