Officials probe Austintown house blast

Staff report


A vacant house at 2196 S. Turner Road exploded shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday, the result of vandalism, a fire official suspects.

“It looks like someone was trying to steal some copper,” said Andy Frost III, Austintown Township fire chief. “They broke off the gas line, and gas filled the house.”

Frost said the “muffled explosion” blew the house off its foundation, but that it didn’t catch anything on fire. No one was injured.

According to the Mahoning County Auditor’s website, the home was built in 1979 and valued at $82,550, with the owner listed as Fred Shutrump III.

Similar incidents have happened before in the township, Frost said. The last one occurred maybe 18 months ago.

“Stealing gas lines is an ongoing problem, and we have to deal with it,” he said.

Police and fire officials are investigating the explosion.

“We’ll know a lot more in the next couple of days,” Frost said.

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