Metro-East News

One house leveled, another damaged in Belleville home explosion

One home was destroyed and another severely damaged in an explosion Tuesday morning in Belleville.

The Belleville Fire Department responded to an explosion in the 400 block of North 40th Street at 4:01 a.m., Fire Chief Tom Pour said. When they arrived, the house was already fully involved. The house next door also caught fire.

No one appeared to be in either of the houses at the time and "For Sale" signs were in the front yards. There were no known injuries.

Pour said they were still trying to get in touch with the homeowner at about 9:30 a.m.

At 6:50 a.m., firefighters were waiting for Ameren to turn off the gas valve at the house and flames were still spouting from an exposed gas line in the remnants of the house.

Pour said they are still investigating the cause of the fire.

"We know a gas line is involved, whether it was involved prior to the explosion is unknown," Pour said.

Shortly after 7 a.m., Ameren crews were able to shut off the gas.

Sadie, Belleville's new arson dog, worked her first scene at the burned home. Sadie is trained to sniff out accelerants and other unnatural liquids left behind after a fire.

Bobbie Schad Laux said her husband called 911 when the neighboring home exploded. She said he woke her up after feeling the explosion.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6