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Peoria home explosion, fire remains under investigation

Ameren says there was no evidence of a gas leak

PEORIA, Ill. - Investigators are looking into what caused an explosion and fire that rocked a Peoria neighborhood. It happened around 5:00PM Friday night.

A pile of debris is all that remains of the home. According to a Peoria Police report, the explosion and fire that followed is listed as a residential burglary and arson.

The fire department says it's still investigating to pinpoint a cause, while neighbors are still in shock.

"The house literally was immediately on fire. I mean fire shooting out windows blasting out fire blasting out. I stood here and it was like I was in a trance because it was like I didn't even have the presence of mind at that time to call 911 because it was so scary." Neighbor, Barb Hodum, says.

Barb Hodum was sitting in her living room Friday night when she heard and felt a loud explosion. She stepped outside to see her neighbor's house on fire.

"I just couldn't imagine what it was so I went outside thinking it was a car accident and the house was already on fire." Hodum says.

Lea Carter lives two doors down from the home on Norwood and Atlantic, she says her whole house shook.

"My husband and I were in the house and we thought actually somebody ran into the house or we thought the tree in our neighbor's back yard hit our garage." Carter explains.

Neighbors describe a fireball pouring out of the roof of the home, the homeowners not there at the time, and neighbors tell us family pets did not make it out. The house was demolished Friday night and Monday family friends and neighbors gathered to save what little is left.

"It's hard because I don't think there's much to salvage and you know all their memories and they've lived there for years." Hodum says.

People who've lived in the area for decades are still getting used to a different view from their front porch and lending a hand to fellow neighbors during a time of need.

"It's a great neighborhood, friendly, supportive, right now everyone is wanting to know what they can do to help the family." Hodum says.

WMBD spoke to Ameren Illinois Monday, who says crews were onsite Friday, and did not find any evidence of a gas leak.

Peoria Police and Fire Department couldn't provide any further details, other than that this investigation is ongoing.

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