- Associated Press - Thursday, August 17, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A team of fire investigators is trying to determine the cause of a natural gas explosion in Lincoln that damaged nearly 20 homes and gave two people life-threatening injuries.

Investigators and Lincoln police spent a second day searching rubble for reasons behind Monday’s home explosion. Investigators didn’t find any evidence Tuesday of an external gas leak, and Black Hills Energy officials reported no issues with its service lines to the home.

“What we’re after is we’re looking at the connections,” said Bill Moody, chief fire investigator.

Moody said that once investigators find the leak’s source, they’ll try to determine if a mechanical failure, accident or foul play triggered the blast.

Fire officials said the explosion threw homeowners Jim and Jeanne Jasa, both 66, out of the house and into the backyard. A spokesman for a local hospital said Wednesday that the couple remains in critical condition.

Debris was sent as far as six blocks away, but the couple were the only ones injured from the blast.

Moody called it the worst natural gas explosion he’s seen in his more than 30-year career, adding that it would’ve taken hours of built-up natural gas to cause the amount of damage that occurred. He said it may take weeks of further forensic analysis of the evidence to determine why the blast happened.

Natural gas is an odorless gas with an added chemical marker, sometimes smelling of rotten eggs, used to help people detect leaks.

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