Latest on Weinbach Ave. explosion, coroner releases autopsies of victims

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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 11:20 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The coroner has released preliminary causes of death for the three people killed in last week’s home explosion on N. Weinbach.

[Previous: Section of Weinbach Avenue to stay closed through weekend]

Chief Deputy Coroner David Anson says the preliminary cause of death for Charles and Martina Hite is Blunt Force Trauma to the Chest, and the preliminary cause of death for Jessica Teague is Compression Asphyxia.

Division Chief Mike Larson with the Evansville Fire Department says Monday begins the slow methodical process of the investigation.

Monday is the first day crews were able to get behind the fence and investigate the area the explosion happened.

Chief Larson says the investigation is now with the Indiana Fire Marshals office.

He says crews on scene have heavy equipment moving large pieces of debris so detectives can get around.

Evansville Water and Sewer Utility crews were also on site Monday inspecting a 24 and 36 inch storm pipe, as well as a 36 inch combination sewer that sits under North Weinbach Avenue.

Chief Larson says this investigation will move slow because the crews want to be as thorough as possible.

“It’s going to be awhile,” said Larson. “I don’t know exactly when it’s going to be that we can have any answers, but we don’t get a chance to do it a second time. So, they’re being very very careful as they go through the process and making sure we leave no stone unturned.”

Chief Larson says the answers as to what caused the explosion or when North Weinbach Avenue will be open again, is as long as it takes.

He says an investigation like this is very tedious.

“I can’t stress enough that this is a very slow process,” said Larson. “I mean really it’s just, you’re moving small pieces just one piece at a time making sure you don’t disturb any of that evidence. Making sure we can get to the bottom of this and finding out exactly what happened a week ago.”

Monday morning, we heard from Teague’s mother, Rebecca Nelson.

She sent us the following statement:

“Jessica was an amazing wonderful person. She loved all of God’s creatures, great and small. Jessica hated any type of animal abuse, and Lord help you if she ever caught someone doing something to the smallest bug to (especially a cat) the blue whale. Jess went to Henderson Community College and earned an associate in computer science that she worked hard to achieve. She worked at Rural King and Red Banks retirement home during college. Jessica currently worked at Toyota Bushuku on night shift. Jessica loved her friends/co-workers at Bushuku . Jessica was so proud of herself for saving up enough to buy herself a house instead of living in an apartment on South Green River Road. Jessica interest was in anime and video games in part of her spare time. Her main focus was on her two cats Pepper and Bell that she loved dearly. We would prefer to mourn her beautiful life in private at this time.”

Funeral arrangements for the Hites are set for Tuesday.

Among the three who died are 43-year-old Charles Hite and his wife, 37-year-old Martina.
Among the three who died are 43-year-old Charles Hite and his wife, 37-year-old Martina.(WFIE)

The explosion damaged 39 homes.

[Related Story: Friends use Special Olympics medals to honor explosion victims]

[Related Story: Family mourns and remembers married couple killed in Weinbach explosion]

[Related Story: Section of Weinbach Avenue to stay closed through weekend]

[Related Story: Officials: 3 people dead, 39 homes damaged after house explosion in Evansville]

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