Home explodes in Butler County

BENTON, Kan. (KSNW) – An explosion rattled the small town of Benton early Monday morning, leveling one house and damaging another.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office said it happened near Highway 254 and SW County Line Road west of Benton.

“It’s a total disaster up there,” said Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet.

On Tuesday, officials reported that the explosion was caused by a propane leak that originated near the hot water heater or sump pump. Officials said no one had been living in the home, but a majority of the utilities were left on.

“It was flattened. There was nothing left. All that is left is the foundation,” Herzet said.

The first calls came into dispatch around 5:15 a.m.

“It was very loud and it rocked a lot of homes in the area,” Herzet said. “I actually felt it myself. I live 20 miles northeast of here and was up this morning and it shook the windows of my home.”

Investigators on scene first feared the worst.

“Deputies were a little shook up seeing what they saw with all the debris and wood and were really concerned there was somebody on the property in the home,” Herzet said.

With relief, officials soon realized the home owners were not inside. Herzet said the family had been living in Arkansas for the last two months.

“I talked to three of the family member and they are all accounted for,” he said.

While no one was living at the home, the utilities including the gas, the propane and the electricity were left on. Investigators are now trying to find out why and what may have sparked the explosion.

“We will cover all our bases,” Herzet said.

Butler County crews also used rescue dogs to comb the area to make sure no one was staying in the vacant house.

The blast did shatter a neighbor’s window. No one was hurt.

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