(Vic Ryckaert and Ryan Sabalow/The Indiana Star)-
Authorities Sunday morning started letting some residents back into the Richmond Hill neighborhood where two people died in an explosion but houses nearest to blast remained off limits.
Firefighters allowed people to return to homes with little or no structural damage that were farthest away from the epicenter of the explosion that rocked the Southside subdivision Saturday night. Marked with white tags, these owners could go back in but could not leave. Their homes remained without power.
Residents were allowed back into homes that were moderately damaged -- marked with yellow tags -- to retrieve pets, medicine and other items, but they had to be escorted by a firefighter.
Under most circumstances, residents were not allowed back into the most heavily damaged homes nearest the blast -- marked with red tags. Public safety radio traffic indicated one resident may have been allowed to return to a red tagged home to retrieve a wallet.
For Scott Alexander and Lynne Smith, who live a block away on Alcona Drive, returning to their home was a bittersweet experience. They had been worried about their dog, a pug named Yoda, since last night when they rushed home after they received an alert that the security at their home had been breached.
When they arrived at the neighborhood, police would not let them near the home, so they went with others to the shelter at Mary Bryan Elementary school, and eventually spent the night with some friends who lived nearby.
This afternoon, they returned to the home whose garage door was punched in and began the search for Yoda. Nearly 12 hours after the blast, the frightened dog was hiding in a closet. "He was happy to see us for sure," Alexander said.
That's when they noticed the collapsed ceiling and other structural damage that suggested the house may have been jarred off its foundation.
Three homes were destroyed in the blast.
Police and fire officials did not confirm the exact addresses, but according to neighbors and witnesses the central point of the explosion appeared to be 8349 Fieldfare Way.
Marion County tax records show that home is owned by Monserrate R. Shirley.
Also destroyed were homes neighboring 8349.
The house to the north, 8343 Fieldfare Way, is owned by Glenn and Gloria Olvey. The house to the south, 8355, is owned by John D. and Jennifer L. Longworth.
Strangers reach out to help those in need
When the explosion displaced more than 100 residents, Doug Karr opened his home to a couple strangers and their dog.
"I was watching the news and I got to thinking, I got extra rooms, I got extra stuff, why don't we go do something," Karr said.
Roy and Doris Jarnagin spent the night in Karr's spare bedroom, along with Tanner, their Cocker Spaniel.
"He and his daughter opened up his house to us," Doris said, noting they just couldn't leave without Tanner.
"We couldn't leave him behind because of all the broken glass in the house."
Karr also drove the Jarnagins back to the house to get Roy's heart medication.
The area remained without power and police threatened to arrest anyone found wandering through the affected areas.