INDIANAPOLIS - A major step in the move to remove safety hazards from the Richmond Hill subdivision is just hours away, as the demolition of the first home damaged in the deadly blast is set to begin Tuesday morning.
The neighborhood was crowded with contractors Monday ahead of the start of the demolitions.
The city says 33 houses must come down.
"Twenty-nine of those have demolition orders that were issued," said Adam Collins, with the Department of Code Enforcement.
That equals about a quarter of the homes in the south side neighborhood.
Six of the hardest hit homes are coming down first, by Dec. 3, then demolition crews will tear down 17 more houses by Dec. 20.
The Department of Code Enforcement had hoped to begin demolition Monday morning, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the work was postponed.
"With the short week, I think they got a lot of extra-high bids for what the demolition would have cost to take place by Monday, so we're happy to accommodate and keep this as cost effective as possible," Collins said.
No arrests have been made in the Nov. 10 blast, which killed a young couple, disrupted lives and caused all this destruction.
Investigators say the explosion was intentionally set and involved natural gas.
For now, the four houses at the center of the blast won't be touched, because they are considered a crime scene in the homicide investigation.
"This scene is still locked down. It's still secured," said Gary Coons, with the Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security. "But they are processing evidence they collected. They're still interviewing and they are processing all that, too."
Demolition equipment arrived Monday, and crews expect to fire it up in the morning.
Repairs have begun on the damaged homes that don't have to be demolished. Crews spent the day Monday putting up new siding, painting, replacing garage doors and cleaning.