Three people were injured after an explosion leveled a Missouri house Tuesday morning — and authorities are investigating whether illegal fireworks were the cause.
Two adult men and one adult woman were taken to the hospital on the Fourth of July with injuries that are not life threatening, police said. Neighbors dragged the injured people from the rubble of the St. Joseph home and away from the flames, according to police.
The blast occurred shortly after 9:30 a.m., Tuesday — completely demolishing the house, authorities said.
St. Joseph Police, firefighters and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are combing through the debris to determine the exact cause of the explosion, St. Joseph Police Capt. Jeff Wilson told Fox News.
“The debris field is very big and [investigators] are looking for any evidence of a crime,” Wilson said. “It will take a little while to work the crime scene.”
While Wilson said he was unable to give a “statement as to the cause” of the explosion quite yet, he did confirm that investigators are looking into the possibility that fireworks caused the destruction.
John Hamm, an ATF spokesman, said that neighbors have pointed to fireworks manufacturing as the cause of the explosion, but it is still “too early” for his agency to make that determination.
“The house, at this time, is a complete loss, it’s completely destroyed,” Hamm said during a press conference.
Paul Saunders told St. Joseph's News-Press Now that he’s heard his neighbors blow things up before, adding that he’s previously called the police due to how late in the night those at the house would set off explosions.
A police spokesperson could not confirm Saunders’ allegation as the criminal investigation into what caused the explosion is ongoing.
“To be honest with you, they’ve never told me that they make homemade bombs. Only thing I know is that they have some kind of a bomb, but I never see any packaging,” Saunders said. “I never see anything. I just always see, you know, them blowing stuff up.”
Neighbors told KSHB-TV that explosions could be heard at least 30 times a year at the house.
Earlier reports that a child was in the house at the time of the incident are not correct, Wilson clarified Tuesday.
“We would just like to say we’re happy there was no loss of life and the injuries that were sustained seem to be moderate,” he said at an earlier press conference.