Apartment explosion critically injures two, including 16-year-old boy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 1, 2014)— Fire investigators are looking into a possible gas leak after a 16-year-old boy and 20-year-old man were critically injured in an apartment complex fire on Indianapolis’ far east side Wednesday morning.

A witness reported the fire just after 11 a.m. at the Berkshire Square Apartments in the 11000 block of Colonywood Drive. Neighbors in the area told FOX59 they heard an explosion.

LaKeysha Smith is renting the apartment. She told Fox 59, her 20-year-old cousin Markice Smith and his friend were staying with her and her four children.

She said she noticed something was wrong when Citizens Energy turned her gas back on yesterday.

"I was hearing like some noise like water running and I was like, what is that when I got off work yesterday,” she recalled. “I went in there where my washer and dryer hook up was. That’s where it was coming from which is in the kitchen. And I didn’t see nothing so I cooked dinner and everything last night.”

She said she woke up this morning and heard the noise again.

"I went in there to check to make sure my stuff was off 'cause I was hearing my gas and it wasn’t on and I went to work,” she said.

She had planned to call maintenance, but it was too late. Her cousin told firefighters he went to turn the stove on this morning and it blew up.

"Our word of caution is if indeed you smell anything that smells like gas, get it reported and please don’t light any gas appliances cause that’s what the boys said they did and then of course it exploded,” said IFD public information officer Captain Rita Reith.

Fortunately, the four children who live in that apartment were all at school at the time of the fire.

Crews were able to contain the fire in 30 minutes.  Two units, including Smith's apartment, were a total loss. The other six units in the building were evacuated.

Citizens Energy was on scene and secured utilities in the entire building.

IFD continues to investigate the fire.