Several hospitalized after explosion at apartment complex on city's NW side

Victims: Apt smelled like 'dirty water, sewer gas'

INDIANAPOLIS - Six people were taken to local hospitals, two with slight burns, after an explosion at an apartment complex on the city’s northwest side late Thursday evening.

The explosion happened just after 10 p.m. at Pangea Riverside Apartments in the 2600 block of Cold Spring Manor Drive, near 30th Street and Lafayette Road, officials with the Indianapolis Fire Department said.

Two college students, a 20-year-old male and a 19-year-old female, suffered slight burns, but authorities did not believe their injuries were life-threatening. They were taken to Eskenazi Health in serious condition, officials said.

Four other people -- ages 17, 20, 22 and 48 -- were taken IU Health Methodist for precautionary reasons and in fair condition (for observation), IFD said. 

Officials said a 20-year-old male and 22-year-old female (roommates of the two burn victims) were downstairs at the time of the explosion and a mother, 48, and her 17-year-old daughter were next door.

All the hospitalized victims were treated and released early Friday morning.

The occupants told IFD they had no idea what caused the explosion and authorities said it wasn't clear what they were doing at the time.

The four college students in the apartment that exploded said they had noticed a smell in their apartment described as either "dirty water" or "sewer gas." Investigators said the four couldn't agree on the type of smell or locate a source.

"What the four kids told us is that they did have a smell in the apartment, but a couple of them described it as sewer gas and the other two described it as dirty water," said IFD Captain Rita Reith.

Authorities said all of the building's occupants and pets were accounted for, but 23 people needed shelter after the explosion.

IFD officials said it appeared the roof of one section of the building was completely blown off. Authorities were investigating the cause of the explosion.

"It was a vibration … you could feel the shock," said Brandon Barron, who lives at the apartment complex. "It blew the whole brick wall out."

Crews with Citizens Energy Group were called to the scene to secure utilities in the area.

Officials estimated the explosion caused $250,000 in damage.

Authorities said many Marian University students lived in the complex, but it is not considered on-campus housing. It was not yet clear if those injured were students at the school.

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