Questions remain 1 year after Henrico home explosion

Posted at 6:39 PM, May 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-18 18:40:00-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Neighbors in Varina are still in the dark about what caused a house to explode more than a year ago. The blast shook the neighborhood in March of 2011 and left debris scattered for miles. It happened off of Yahley Mill Road.

Antonio Hughes who lives in the 7000 block says he and his parents thought a small plane had crashed when they heard the loud noise. He says when he ran outside there was a huge wall of fire behind their home.

They would later find out that the home next door exploded. “Totally shattered. It totally disappeared, nothing left” said Hughes. He says in the weeks and months that followed, they did plenty of clean-up work on their property. “We had to sweep a million nails out of our yard before we could even clean the yard. I remember everything being strewn out everywhere” said Hughes.

Neighbors say they are still finding debris near their homes and in their neighborhood. One homeowner told us a neighbor even found a charred broomstick in her back yard, across the street from the house that exploded.

They say it has been unsettling to not have any more answers today than they did more than a year ago. “Even bomb techs came out here and I do remember them talking about the fire but they didn’t know what caused it” said Hughes.

CBS 6 News checked back in with Henrico investigators to see if they could update us on their progress. We asked if they had nailed down a cause of the blast. District Chief David Seay said “Because it’s under investigation that means we have not ruled out possibly several different potential causes. They can’t put a finger on one so we have to carry it as an ongoing investigation until we get more evidence.”

Chief Seay says he’s hoping by revisiting this story, it will jog someone’s memory. “You may think what you know is small, it’s insignificant, but let us be the ones to determine that. Sometimes the small details you have are the ones we’re missing.”

If you have information that can help investigators, you’re urged to call 401-4900.