OFD: Benson house explosion ruled "accidental"

Posted at 2:16 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 18:02:11-04

Omaha Fire officials have ruled that Monday's house explosion was "accidental." 

CPM employee Clara Bender was killed in the explosion.

On Wednesday, Omaha Fire Department Investigators finished their investigation into the cause of Monday’s house explosion on  North 65th St. 

Officials say the explosion is being classified as “accidental.”

OFD officials also released the following timeline of events that led to the explosion:

  • On Saturday, the tenant was moving personal belongings out of the residence with the help of a few acquaintances 
  • One of the last items removed from the house was the gas clothes dryer.
  • The dryer was disconnected from the gas line supplying it by one of the persons helping with the move, so the dryer could be taken out of the house. However, the gas line that supplied the dryer was not shut off, leaving it to flow natural gas into the structure 
  • Later Saturday evening, 2 men who had helped the tenant move went back to the residence to retrieve a few personal belongings they had left there earlier. At that time, they noticed a natural gas smell, and notified the tenant of such 
  • After receiving that information, the tenant then notified the property management company of the situation by leaving a voice mail message on Mrs. Bender’s work cell phone late Saturday night. It is unknown if Mrs. Bender ever received that message
  •  The natural gas flowing from the disconnected clothes dryer line had filled the structure until Monday when Mrs. Bender entered the residence. Investigators believe she was in the kitchen of the home at the time of the explosion
  • While Mrs. Bender was inside, the gas and air mixed to a point where the atmosphere entered into an explosive range and came into contact with an ignition source, causing the explosion. More than 1 credible ignition source within the structure was identified; however, Investigators could not determine the exact ignition source
  • The result was the explosion that completely demolished the structure, caused damage throughout the neighborhood, and ultimately led to Mrs. Bender’s passing

OFD officials say they are extending its thoughts and prayers to all who were affected by the tragedy.