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On site investigation of explosion complete, more testing taking place

Brendan LaChance, Oil City News

CASPER, Wyo. — Local law enforcement and supporting agencies say that they have completed the on-site investigation of the Labor Day home explosion in Casper.

According to a release sent on Thursday, Casper Fire-EMS investigators were able to identify an area of origin in the basement of the home where the explosion potentially originated.

“To find this location, investigators examined fire patterns and crews spent hours using equipment to remove debris. Although the area of origin has been identified, further testing is required to definitely identify the cause of the explosion,” the release said. “In order to confidently conclude the cause, forensic and laboratory testing of the site must take place. This process requires specialty trained personnel and equipment.”

“The testing required to come to a complete conclusion on the source of the explosion must be done by specialty trained engineers, scientists and forensic examiners,” said Casper Fire-EMS Deputy Chief Mark Harshman. “This is not a normal fire incident. It is extremely complex. Right now, the role of fire investigators is to identify the area of origin and cause. Because the cause is undetermined at this time, we will work in partnership with the private insurance companies who will use their resources to further conduct testing.”

Casper Fire-EMS in partnership with the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF found no evidence of an explosive device or clandestine lab.

Black Hills Energy crews were also on site for an extended amount of time evaluating their infrastructure and conducting their investigation.

At this time, their investigation is ongoing.

Rocky Mountain Power crews initially discontinued power to the affected houses. They too evaluated their infrastructure in the area.

“As this thorough investigation continues, we ask the public’s help in maintaining support and respect for all affected in the course of this dynamic and life-changing event,” the Friday release said. “For their safety and privacy, the public is asked to remain away from the incident scene and surrounding homes as residents continue to work with insurance companies and building inspectors.”

The scene, although secured, will remain in its current state to allow insurance investigators and other investigating parties to complete their analysis.

By remaining away from the area, the public will assist investigators in completing their work as quickly and safety as possible.

If you find a personal artifact in the area that is not yours, it may be a part of this incident, please call the Casper Police Department at 307-235-8278.

Casper Fire-EMS and the Casper Police Department will continue to work in partnership with private insurance companies as this investigation continues. Information available to the public will be released as it becomes available.

“It is our belief that there is not an on-going threat to our community in regard to our conclusion,” the release went on to explain. “We would like to thank our community and partnering organizations for their assistance.”

ATF, Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office, American Red Cross, Mills Fire Department, Casper Mountain Fire District, Bar Nunn Fire Department, Evansville Fire Department, Wyoming Medical Center, Natrona County Emergency Management Office and the Natrona County Fire Protection District responded at various points during the incident and investigation.


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