Police: Final determination into Jeffersonville home explosion could take months

Jeffersonville home explosion investigation could take months, police say

JEFFERSONVILLE, In. (WAVE) - Investigators are still piecing together the details that led to a home explosion Sunday morning in the Capitol Hills neighborhood of Jeffersonville.

The explosion claimed the life of Bill Phillips. His wife, Janet Phillips, was injured in the explosion and remains in a hospital in critical condition. The Phillips’ home was totally destroyed, the remains of their lives together now scattered in pieces around the neighborhood.

“Our officers observed catastrophic damage to the residence of 904 Assembly Road,” Lt. Isaac Parker with Jeffersonville Police said.

The Jeffersonville home belonging to Bill and Janet Phillips exploded, destroying their property and damaging others nearby.
The Jeffersonville home belonging to Bill and Janet Phillips exploded, destroying their property and damaging others nearby.

Natural gas filtered into the home for 12 hours before the blast, according to police. Vectren Energy, the utility provider, agreed with the cause, a spokesperson saying Tuesday the source of the gas came from inside the home and not on the pipeline or infrastructure owned by Vectren.

“About 12 hours prior to the explosion, there was an increase in flow of natural gas to the residence,” Parker said.

Police are still investigating why gas levels increased and what caused it to ignite.

PREVIOUS STORIES

The blast destroyed the Phillips' home and damaged many others nearby.

When something devastating like this happens, State Farm Agent Doug Fisher said many people don't know where to start.

“Whether it’s an explosion, tornado, fire - all of those things are sudden and accidental and typically you would find covered under homeowners,” Fisher said.

Officials determined the cause of the home explosion in Jeffersonville to be natural gas.
Officials determined the cause of the home explosion in Jeffersonville to be natural gas. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Some agents said typically, it would be covered under the homeowners insurance where the blast took place. If you rent, your landlord’s insurance would cover the damaged building, while renters insurance would cover your belongings.

Each case is unique and different, Fisher said, so coverage can differ depending on the circumstances.

"Generally speaking, your own homeowners insurance coverage is going to provide coverage for damage that you sustained to your house even though the explosion wasn’t on your property,” Fisher said.

MORE VIDEO

+ Neighbors describe sights, sounds of Jeffersonville explosion

+ Sunday’s incident similar to 2017 explosion in New Albany

If you’re not sure if you’d be covered in cases like this, Fisher said it’s important to ask. And if you have valuables beyond just your home, it’s important to inventory what you have. Photos and detailed information on possession can make the claim process simpler for people going through difficult times.

“Go in and ask questions, sit down with your agent. Because the questions that are coming up now are coming up because people don’t really know how insurance works in this case,” Fisher said.

The blast destroyed the Bill and Janet Phillips' home and damaged many others nearby.
The blast destroyed the Bill and Janet Phillips' home and damaged many others nearby. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Parker said there’s no indication of criminal intent or foul play. Their final determination of the explosion could take months.

Right now, police said this appears to be an isolated incident but stress that if you smell gas, call the police or fire department. Free tetanus shots, medical care and counseling will be made available for those impacted by the home explosion through LifeServe Health Systems. A spokesperson for LifeServe said an event like this is traumatic and they want to ensure those affected are receiving the physical and mental health care they need.

A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. at First Christian Church in Jeffersonville on Wednesday. After the service, a presentation on grief and trauma will take place and counselors and pastors will be on hand to speak with those impacted by the explosion.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.