An explosion destroyed a house and sent all three people inside – including a 2-year-old — to a local hospital with serious injuries early Tuesday morning, authorities said.
The explosion and fire was reported just after 2 a.m., Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. Firefighters found the house in the 700 block of North Minnesota engulfed in “heavy fire” when they arrived, he said, and the three family members outside.
The victims — a 28-year-old man, a 24-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl — were taken by ambulance to the burn unit at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where a hospital spokeswoman said they were all in critical condition midafternoon Tuesday.
Evidence at the scene indicates an explosion occurred, Crisp said, but investigators haven’t determined what caused it. A Kansas Gas crew was on the scene checking gas lines. Underground lines and service lines in the surrounding area also were checked.
“They were not able to find anything that would cause us concern,” Crisp said.
A fire investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting with the case, he said.
The fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damage, Crisp said, which would make the house a total loss. Heavy equipment was being used to clear debris as a light rain fell Tuesday afternoon.
Concerns about the safety of the scene were slowing efforts to determine the cause of the fire, Crisp said.