One dead in Derby home explosion

By Jake Trease
Derby Informer – April 28, 2015

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A house was leveled in an explosion a little before 10 p.m. Monday night east of Derby, according to dispatchers. Firefighters were dispatched from five different departments to help deal with the ensuing flames and search for possible victims.

One victim was found on the scene on 127th street in Sedgwick County after more than an hour of searching with floodlights blanketing the scene, said Kip Hiebert, Sedgwick County division fire chief. He said they are waiting until daylight to identify the body.

Units from Derby, Rose Hill, Sedgwick County, McConnell Air Force Base and Wichita were dispatched to the scene, Hiebert said. Four water tankers were used.

Dozens of firefighters trudged through the debris in search of a victim neighbors told them was likely inside. Parts of the house flew as far as 75 feet, close to the dirt road where about eight fire trucks were parked.

“At first, we couldn’t get into the structure,” Hiebert said. “So we started from the outside and worked our way in.”

Once inside, firefighters picked pieces of wood and furniture out of a basement.

“It looks like a typical explosion,” Hiebert said of the debris. “It’s a little early to say exactly what the cause would be.”

Hiebert said firefighters will maintain the site until morning, when an investigation into the cause of the explosion can continue.

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