INDIANAPOLIS - Homeowners stood by as the first of the explosion-damaged houses were demolished in the Richmond Hill subdivision Tuesday morning.
Twenty-nine homes have been ordered to be torn down in the aftermath of the Nov. 10 explosion that killed two and damaged dozens of houses.
Special Section: Indy Explosion
Brett and Nikki Cocherell looked on Tuesday as the two-story home it took them months to have built years ago was knocked down in a matter of hours.
"They were upbeat. We were joking, trying to keep lighthearted," said friend and neighbor Mike Phillips.
Doug Aldridge, who has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years, choked back tears as he watched the landscape of his neighborhood change once again.
"I've got survivor's guilt. I have to see this every day. This is horrible for us," he said, his voice wavering. "Our neighborhood has been strong. We have to live here for another 10 to 15 years, so we need to get back to normal."
The Cocherelles plan to rebuild on the site, so demolition crews were taking extra care not to damage the basement. It took about an hour to bring the home down.
Aldridge, who is serving as a spokesman for the neighborhood, said residents want the homes torn down and the criminal investigation wrapped up soon.
"We'd like to see all the gates come down and release it as a crime area. Whatever comes up out of this, we have to live with it, one way or another," he said. "Whether it takes two days or two months, we want the right decision, the right thing to happen so we can all move on with our lives."
Investigators have said they believe the explosion was intentionally set. No arrests have been made.