Weekend explosion kills one in Columbia City

One man has died in a Saturday warehouse explosion in Whitley County. State Police say the explosion occurred around 9 a.m. in Columbia City.

First responders found the building fully engulfed in flames, preventing the rescue of a man trapped inside. Police say his body was recovered around 2:30 p.m. after the fire was extinguished. The blast occurred at the old R&D Cycle shop at the intersection of North Line Street and Diplomat Drive.  There was also damage to the optometry office next door. Several cars were also destroyed in the explosion.

The cause of the explosion and fire was believed to be related to a natural gas leak, but the State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate to determine the cause and manner of the explosion.