Gas leak blamed for deadly Mercer County house explosion; 2 others injured in blast

1 dead after explosion in Mercer County

MERCER COUNTY — A propane gas leak has been identified as the preliminary cause of a house explosion in Mercer County Sunday that killed a woman who lived in the home and injured two neighbors, according to Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey.

Rosie McClurg, 72, was killed in the blast reported at her home in the 3700 block of County Road 716-A, just south of Montezuma, around 6 p.m. Sunday.

“(Montezuma Fire Chief, Lee Braun) advised upon his arrival at the scene the house was totally leveled with debris scattered in all directions. There were numerous fires around the area as well as in the basement area of the residence,” Grey said in a media release issued Tuesday.

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McClurg’s body was found hours later in the house’s basement under piles of debris, Grey said. Her husband was not home at the time of the explosion.

Rosie McClurg (Contributed Photo/WCSM Radio)
Rosie McClurg (Contributed Photo/WCSM Radio)

The force of the explosion injured two of the McClurg’s neighbors who were outside at the time of the explosion. One was injured by flying debris and the other was hurt by the “significance” of the explosion, Grey said. Both suffered minor injuries and were treated and released at area hospital.

The initial investigation found a gas leak inside the house was the potential cause of the explosion.

“The primary fuel for this residence was propane. The location of the leak and cause of the ignition for the explosion are still under investigation at this time," Grey said.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office was requested to assist in the fire department’s investigation.

“It’s already starting to get colder, which means more and more people are going to start using propane and firing up their furnaces for the first time,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon. “Before the winter months set in, we want to urge all Ohioans to have their furnaces and other fueling-burning appliances inspected to avoid any potential dangers.”