LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) — A house explosion in Le Mars damaged 14 properties, destroyed 2 properties, and injured 3 people on Wednesday.

According to a release from the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department, emergency responders were called to a residence on 3rd Street after a report of an explosion.  The release stated that the explosion caused damage to a total of three houses on 3rd Street. The explosion of the residence caused debris to fly through the west wall of a second home, and a third home was penetrated by falling burning roof material of the home that exploded.  

The release specified that three people were injured when emergency responders arrived. One man was found in the street with some burns, and another man was found in the basement of one of the homes and had sustained an unspecified amount of burns. A woman was found trapped under debris and was rescued by firefighters. The three individuals were treated on the scene by officials with Le Mars Fire-Rescue, and two of them were transported to a local hospital. They were later released. One of the men had to be airlifted to a hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. His burns were treated, and it was reported at 5:30 p.m. that he was in stable condition.  

Two of the houses were specified to have been a complete loss, and the third was able to be saved and is livable. According to the release, 14 other properties sustained damage in a 3-block area near the explosion. Some of the damage was specified as broken windows, broken garage doors, soffits shook loose, and there were reports of items being blown or shook off the walls inside some residences.  

The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental. The release stated that the probable cause of the explosion was from a build-up of natural gas which was ignited when a water heater was being lit. It was indicated that the impact of the explosion was felt throughout several parts of the community, and total damage could be around $350,000.  

According to the release, firefighters were on scene for more than five hours. While no responders were injured, several had to be rehabbed by EMS (Emergency Medical Services) officials due to heat stress and exhaustion.  

Le Mars Fire-Rescue was helped at the scene by the Orange City and Sioux Center Fire Departments, Mid-American Energy, Le Mars Police, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, City of Le Mars Water Department, City of Le Mars Street Department, and several others who provided food and drink for the responders.