A huge explosion has struck suburban Indianapolis, killing two and injuring four. The cause of the blast that consumed two homes and damaged a dozen more is under investigation; initial speculation it was caused by a plane crash has been ruled out.
Local police said the explosion went off a little after 11:00pm local time (4:00 GMT). The Indianapolis Fire Department said two bodies had been found after firefighters went through the damaged buildings during the night. One death had previously been reported.
Four people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Television reports showed the inferno spreading to nearby homes following the initial blast. Windows were shattered, walls had caved in and garage doors were knocked from their hinges.
Dozens of residents were evacuated from the area and are currently taking refuge in a nearby elementary school. Police have cordoned off nearby roads in order to allow police and fire vehicles to access the scene.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who arrived at the scene of the blast in the middle of the night, said the explosion was “so strong that it clearly had an effect for blocks," while Captain Rita Burris of the Indianapolis Fire Department described the wreckage as something akin to a warzone.
A preliminary investigation is currently underway to ascertain what triggered the explosion. Firemen have not yet ruled out that the blast could have been caused by natural gas, although initial speculation of a possible plane crash has been ruled out.