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Authorities confirm 1 person killed in Parma Heights house explosion

Community in mourning after deadly explosion
Posted at 1:45 PM, Dec 21, 2019

PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Parma Heights community is in mourning after an explosion at a home left one person dead.

Firefighters battled flames at the home located in the 6300 block of Mallo Place for hours after being originally called to the scene around 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

A News 5 viewer who witnessed the devastation said they saw a "mushroom cloud of smoke" rising from the home.

Parma Fire Department Chief Mike Lasky multiple cities provided mutual aid to Parma Heights firefighters.

“We had multiple cities respond,” Lasky said, “Parma. Parma Heights. North Royalton. Brook Park. Middleburg Heights.”

When crews arrived, firefighters had to quickly make adjustments to their strategy when they learned there had been an explosion somewhere inside the home.

“It’s more of a defensive attack that we have to end up taking because we’re unsure of what’s going on inside the house,” Lasky said.

Parma Heights firefighters respond to house explosion

Blake Reed, whose family lives nearby, received a call from his mother about the explosion and he feared the worst.

“I was on my way to Giant Eagle and I actually sped over here because I thought it was my grandfather’s house,” Reed said.

When he arrived, Reed found his grandfather safe inside his home.

“They said they felt a loud bang or a big boom,” Reed said. “The house shook and bunch of pictures fell.”

Reed said he fears his grandfather’s next-door neighbor and good friend did not survive the blast.

The identity of the person found in the wreckage has not been released.

Another individual was injured and hospitalized as a result of the fire, but their condition is unknown at this time, according to authorities.

Crews cleared the scene at approximately 8:30 p.m. Only charred debris remained.

Investigators, along with Columbia Gas, are still looking into what may have caused Saturday’s fatal explosion.