Casper, Wyoming (September 5, 2019) – Local law enforcement and supporting agencies have completed the on-site investigation of the Labor Day home explosion in Casper.
After an around the clock, four-day operation, City of Casper’s Fire-EMS and Police Department, Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have completed the on-site portion of this investigation.
Casper Fire-EMS investigators were able to identify an area of origin in the basement of the home where the explosion potentially originated. To find this location, investigators examined fire patterns and crews spent hours using equipment to remove debris.
Although the area of origin has been identified, further testing is required to definitely identify the cause of the explosion. In order to confidently conclude the cause, forensic and laboratory testing of the site must take place. This process requires specialty trained personnel and equipment.
“The testing required to come to a complete conclusion on the source of the explosion must be done by specialty trained engineers, scientists and forensic examiners,” said Casper Fire-EMS Deputy Chief Mark Harshman. “This is not a normal fire incident. It is extremely complex. Right now, the role of fire investigators is to identify the area of origin and cause. Because the cause is undetermined at this time, we will work in partnership with the private insurance companies who will use their resources to further conduct testing.”
Casper Fire-EMS in partnership with the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF found no evidence of an explosive device or clandestine lab.
Black Hills Energy crews were also on site for an extended amount of time evaluating their infrastructure and conducting their investigation. At this time, their investigation is ongoing.
Rocky Mountain Power crews initially discontinued power to the affected houses. They too evaluated their infrastructure in the area.
As this thorough investigation continues, we ask the public’s help in maintaining support and respect for all affected in the course of this dynamic and life-changing event. For their safety and privacy, the public is asked to remain away from the incident scene and surrounding homes as residents continue to work with insurance companies and building inspectors. The scene, although secured, will remain in its current state to allow insurance investigators and other investigating parties to complete their analysis. By remaining away from the area, the public will assist investigators in completing their work as quickly and safety as possible.
If you find a personal artifact in the area that is not yours, it may be a part of this incident, please call the Casper Police Department at 307-235-8278.
Casper Fire-EMS and the Casper Police Department will continue to work in partnership with private insurance companies as this investigation continues. Information available to the public will be released as it becomes available. It is our belief that there is not an on-going threat to our community in regard to our conclusion.
We would like to thank our community and partnering organizations for their assistance. It is our honor to protect and serve this community of Casper, together.
We would also like to thank the ATF, Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office, American Red Cross, Mills Fire Department, Casper Mountain Fire District, Bar Nunn Fire Department, Evansville Fire Department, Wyoming Medical Center, Natrona County Emergency Management Office and the Natrona County Fire Protection District for their assistance with this incident.
Labor Day Home Explosion Investigation Update
Casper, Wyoming (September 3, 2019) – Investigation into the cause of the Plateau Place home explosion in Casper remains active and ongoing.
City of Casper Building Inspectors, Fire-EMS, and Police Department have been working tirelessly since the event occurred around 12:30 pm on Monday, September 2, 2019 to secure and investigate the scene.
At this time, no injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of this incident.
Thus far, the joint CPD and CFP investigation has revealed that the residents of the home were not inside at the time of the incident. The home sustained a significant amount of damage and spread debris across an estimated two block radius.
“We are extremely grateful that no one was injured yesterday,” said Casper Fire-EMS Public Information Officer Dane Andersen. “Although no one was physically injured, this tragedy has severely impacted many of our neighbors. We take it as a personal responsibility to help them in any way we can.”
City of Casper crews along with local contractors have been working to remove and clear the area of dangerous debris.
Rocky Mountain Power and Black Hills Energy crews responded immediately and shut off power and gas to surrounding homes as a precaution while the investigation took place.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) out of Denver, Colorado also responded out of an abundance of caution. At this time, their investigation is ongoing.
The Casper Police Department is in the final stages of investigating this incident. Details will be released as they become available.
“Thorough investigations take time,” said Casper Police Department Public Information Officer Rebekah Ladd. “A joint investigation with the Casper Fire Department means we have incredible expertise to get to the bottom of what happened. Our community’s safety is always the first priority.”
The intersection of 38th Street and Plateau Place in Casper is the only location that is still closed as a result of this incident. Crews estimate the intersection to be open on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
Further information will be released as soon as it becomes available.
Debris from the incident damaged over a dozen nearby residences.
Once the scene was secured, City of Casper Chief Building Officer Dan Elston in partnership with Electrical Inspector Shawn Barrett arrived to examine several of the damaged residences.
Inspectors evaluated seven homes which showed obvious signs of structural damage on the 3800 Block of Plateau Place as well as the 3700 and 3800 Blocks of Arroyo Drive in Casper. Five of those homes were deemed as “unable to occupy.”
City Officials have made contact with the displaced residents, all of whom are staying with friends or family.
The Casper Police Department has been and will continue to provide around the clock security to this scene and the impacted homes in the area.
Residents with homes damaged by this incident are encouraged to contact their home insurance companies.
A few of the impacted homes have had the power turned off as Rocky Mountain Power crews work to investigate the incident. If your home is without power, please call Rocky Mountain Power at 888-221-7070 to receive an update or to request for your power to be turned back on.
For questions or concerns in regard to natural gas, please contact Mike Howe with Black Hills Energy at 307-261-3254.
The Casper Fire Department is also available to assist those impacted by this incident, please call Dane Andersen with Fire Station 5 at 307-235-8325.
If you have been affected by this incident and need further assistance, please contact the Casper City Manager’s office at 307-235-7554.
The City of Casper’s public safety departments, Casper Fire-EMS and the Casper Police Department, want to convey how thankful the City organization is that this destructive incident did not result in injuries or the loss of life, though it is devastating to everyone involved.
We ask that community members please continue to avoid the area as much as possible while emergency crews and law enforcement complete a thorough investigation.