COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WFFT) — Authorities in Whitley County are still investigating the cause of a warehouse explosion that left one person dead and two others injured a month ago.
The Whitley County Coroner’s Office, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Indiana State Police have released new details about the May 22 explosion in Columbia City as their investigation continues.
The Whitley County Coroner’s Office has identified the man who was killed in last month's explosion on North Line Street as 34-year-old Zachery Sparkman of LaOtto.
The manner and cause of death for Sparkman both remain under investigation.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office issued the following statement after they completed their investigation of the deadly explosion saying they don't believe this fire was set intentionaly:
“We completed the scene examination in Columbia City.
We examined all of the natural gas lines in the building and tested them.
Several of the connections were found with minor leaks in them probably from the explosion and fire.
A gas valve located along the back wall was examined and revealed the most significant leak in the building.
This valve was near the victim’s location. The victim was a known smoker.
No evidence was found indicating a manual intentional manipulation of the building's natural gas system occurred prior to the explosion.
All of the evidence gathered indicates the explosion was caused by an unintentional natural gas leak ignited by an independent ignition source.”
Investigators with the Indiana State Police say they have not finished their portion of the death investigation because they do not have the final autopsy report from the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center