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As Indiana authorities work to determine cause of deadly house explosion, utility company reports no natural gas leaks

<i>MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press/AP</i><br/>Emergency personnel search the debris left behind by an August 11
MaCabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press/AP
Emergency personnel search the debris left behind by an August 11

By Claudia Dominguez, CNN

While authorities in Evansville, Indiana, work to determine what caused a deadly house explosion earlier this week, a utility company said preliminary information indicates there were no natural gas leaks at the time.

“The information we have thus far, we are reporting that there are no indications of issues with CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas system,” Natalie Heddy, a spokesperson for the company, said during a Friday news conference. “We have performed multiple leak surveys that are indicating no natural gas reads.”

Three people were killed and at least 39 homes were damaged, 11 of which were left uninhabitable, following Wednesday’s blast, authorities said.

The victims were identified as Charles Hite, 43, his wife, Martina Hite, 37, and Jessica Teague, 29, according to the Vanderburgh County Coroner. Their causes and manners of death are still pending autopsies, Chief Deputy Coroner David Anson said earlier this week.

Charles and Martina Hite had been married for about three years, Martina’s cousin, Tina Louise Hasenor, said, adding the couple were in their home when the explosion took place.

“Her husband was a really nice guy,” the cousin added. “They definitely loved each other, and (were) meant to be together.”

Evansville Fire Chief Michael Connelly told reporters Friday another person who was injured had been treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released from the hospital.

The chief also shared a 96-inch stormwater drain pipe was possibly damaged during the explosion and added North Weinbach Avenue, the street where the blast took place, will remain closed through Monday.

“The city engineer is inspecting that and the Evansville Fire Department is on standby in case of (an) emergency that (the) city engineer needs to be extracted,” he said.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke shared a disaster intake and assessment form for the properties impacted by the blast, and urged residents to submit the form if their property was damaged.

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