The damage estimate from the south side Indianapolis house explosion has climbed to $4.4 million.
The Indianapolis Fire Department revealed the new number Friday. The previous estimate was $3.6 million. The damage total went up after crews inspected more homes in the Richmond Hill subdivision, the site of Saturday night’s explosion.
According to new numbers released by IFD, 32 houses are deemed unsafe. Officially, five are categorized as destroyed and 10 sustained major damage. City inspectors may have to demolish up to 10 houses, according to Capt. Rita Burris with IFD.
More than two dozen investigators are still working to determine what caused the blast. Heavy equipment is being brought in to help move all the debris.
“They’re bringing in additional manpower and resources to help with that process,” Burris said. They want to make sure they’re expediting it as quickly as they can.”
But the process is taking longer than officials had originally hoped. A few days ago, authorities had said their investigation might be wrapped up by the end of the week.
“I don’t want to give a timeframe,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “If they think they can get it done this weekend, that’s fine, but this is a large scene. This is the largest explosion I’ve ever seen. The debris field was very large, and there’s a lot of things we need to look at.”
Meantime, displaced residents have been coming to the resource center at Southport Presbyterian Church.
“They got counselors in there,” said Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams. “They can just sit down in one of the chairs and have a conversation.”
The resource center is also stocked with food, water, and supplies for residents in need.
“If they need to get information on their insurance company or when their house will be available for the insurance company to get in, basically, this is a one stop shop for victims of this explosion,” Riggs said.
“The long term effects are what we’re concerned about, too,” said Williams. “Some people probably never want to move out here again, some will bounce back.”
The resource center will be open again for residents on Saturday.