SOUTH BEAVER (KDKA) – Two people were killed when their Beaver County home exploded early Tuesday morning.
According to officials at the scene, the explosion happened around 4 a.m. at a home on Louthan Road in South Beaver.
South Beaver Police Chief Dan McLean confirmed that a man and woman were found dead. They have been identified as 74-year-old Ray Trautbetter and his 69-year-old wife, Janet.
A neighbor who lives on nearby Georgetown Road and said the explosion woke everyone up.
“We had numerous calls. It was heard from several miles away,” Chief McLean said. “It was a pretty loud explosion.”
Rich Mattes lives about four blocks away in Chippewa and heard the blast.
“I was in bed and I was asleep. I heard this big boom and my doors rattled and everything. I got up, I thought maybe someone was breaking into the house or something I walked around, went downstairs, didn’t find [anything]. I thought maybe a tree fell on my house,” Mattes said.
Chief McLean said several family members showed up at the scene including Ray’s brother, Darryl Trautvetter.
He received the dreaded phone call from his niece just after 4 a.m.
“Me and my brother married sisters, I lost a brother and my wife lost a sister,” Trautvetter said.
Seeing what was left of the home has been extremely difficult for the family. The structure was literally blown off the foundation and scattered into pieces.
Money, old personal checks, pictures and other belongings were found more than a mile from the residence.
Bob Allen reports:
A propane tank was outside the house. Trautvetter says he believes leaking gas may be to blame.
He just hopes his brother and sister-in-law didn’t suffer.
“I believe they were probably overcome with the gas because they were both sleeping,” he said.
But even if they weren’t asleep, Trautvetter says the fire marshal told him the explosion was so massive that the couple probably died instantly and didn’t suffer.
He says the last he saw his brother was Sunday at his great niece’s high school graduation party.
“Kind of strange how the Lord works,” he said. “He brought us all together Sunday, and this happens, like I’m going to get them together for the last time.”
The fire marshal continues to investigate the cause of the explosion at this time.
UPDATE – July 16, 2014:
The Beaver County Coroner reports the couple died of blunt force trauma.
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that investigators are reportedly focusing on a basement stove as the possible cause of the explosion.
Raw Video From The Scene:
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