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Explosion levels vacant home in Belleville

BELLEVILLE, Ill. - Firefighters responded to a house explosion in Belleville around 4:00am Tuesday. The blast leveled a vacant home located in the 400 block of 40th Street just south of North Belt. The loud boom of the blast woke neighbors up. They said the people living in the home moved out about a week ago.

When firefighters arrived, the home, garage, and a neighboring home, also vacant, were on fire. The Belleville Fire Chief says that the tenants who had recently moved out were back at the home on Monday packing up.  Fire department officials are still trying to contact those tenants.

Officials say a gas meter was damaged in the blast and an open gas line at the home was still burning several hours later.  An Ameren Illinois crew came to shut it off. The cause and origin of the fire have not been determined.

Belleville's new accelerant detection dog Sadie was brought to the scene. Officials say she didn't find anything suspicious.