UPDATE: Police ID Pennsboro Man Killed in House Explosion

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UPDATE 10/28/2013 10:45 AM

PENNSBORO, W.Va. (AP) - Authorities identify a man killed in an explosion at his home in Ritchie County.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Clint Boring says no foul play is suspected in the death of 73-year-old Robert Lee Holmes.

The explosion happened at Holmes' home in Pennsboro on Oct. 21.

An investigation is continuing. State police and the State Fire Marshal believe the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak.

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UPDATE 10/22/2013 5:05 PM

Fire investigators search for the cause of a massive explosion that leveled two Ritchie County homes and killed a man.

Crews got on scene around 10:30 Monday night when it all happened, and they were there all day Tuesday.

They worked to restore cable, Internet and phone service after two explosions in one home destroyed two homes.

The explosion happened on East Myles Avenue in Pennsboro but it was felt for miles.

Neighbors say they thought it was an oil rig blowing up and when they looked out their windows all they could see was orange.

Pennsboro Asst. Fire Chief Joe Sellers says they had most of the blaze contained within an hour and a half, then it was a search and rescue effort.

The owner of the home was missing and officials found a body.

Authorities believe the victim is a male in his 50s to 60s.

Neighbors say he was on oxygen and authorities found oxygen tanks in the debris of the home.

Sellers says eye witnesses say the house did explode and when they arrived on scene the walls were blown out.

""I could look out our kitchen window and see nothing but orange," said local resident, Nikki Cunningham.

"I didn't know what happened at first, till I came out, and I seen the fire flying through the air and and seen that house on fire, just a big ka-boom," said local resident, Ronald Jones.

We spoke with the owner of the third house that was not damaged but is right next to the two that were a total loss.

He said officials told him to leave and not come back until everything was cleaned up.

Around 2 P.M. he was getting clothes from his house, and headed back to work.

The fire is still under investigation by the state fire marshals office.

West Virginia State Police have not released the victim's name.

The West Virginia Division of Highways says State Route 74 could remain closed at the junction of Ritchie County Route 50/39 and 50/40 until 8 P.M. Tuesday.
UPDATE 10/22/2013 11:50 AM

Part of State Route 74 in Pennsboro is closed following a house explosion.

The West Virginia Division of Highways says State Route 74 is closed at the junction of Ritchie County Route 50/39 and 50/40.

Crews are repairing utility lines.

This section of the road is expected to be closed until about 8 p.m., or when repairs are complete.

Drivers can take Tollgate Road to APD 50 to Ritchie County Route 50/21 (Bunnells Run) or Ritchie County Route 50/39 to WV 74.
UPDATE: An explosion shook all of Pennsboro Monday night, and now one man is dead.

The Ritchie County Emergency Squad says it happened at 10:23 Monday night on East Myles avenue in Pennsboro, W.Va. There was a loud boom and then two house went up in flames.

Officials say It was determined early on that no one was in the second house, but a truck parked outside of the house where the explosion originated led officials to believe someone was inside the home.

After nearly four hours of investigation a body was found.

Authorities say the victim's name will be released once the body is identified.

Ritchie County Emergency Management Director, James White, did say the man was in his 50s to 60s. White said there is reason to believe he was the only person in the house at the time.

The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time.

Authorities say both houses are a total loss.

Officials say a third neighboring house suffered smoke damage, but the family made it out safely.

The explosion did melt several electrical wires in the area, knocking out power, phone service and cable. White says in the event of an emergency residents should go to the Pennsboro Emergency Squad on Myles Avenue or the 911 center.

TheNewsCenter will keep you updated with the latest.
A late night explosion has been reported on East Myles Avenue in Pennsboro, W.Va.

The Ritchie County Dispatcher says there are two reported structure fires.

Authorities still on the scene.

WTAP has a reporter on location.

The News Center will keep you updated with the latest.

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