EUCLID -- A vacant home exploded in Euclid after officials say there had been a copper theft approximately 2 weeks earlier.
"I received word that yes we did respond there approximately two weeks ago… and it was due to copper lines being removed from the house," Euclid Fire Cpt. Anthony Pellegrino tells Channel 3's Hilary Golston.
While fire officials confirm the house exploded after neighbors smelled gas, they can't confirm the copper theft was the cause of the explosion.
Around 10:30 Thursday morning, the Euclid Fire Dept. responded to calls a house had exploded at 1491 E. 193rd. Crews saw windows had blown out on a 2-story wood frame home. However, they did not find any smoke or fire evidence.
Neighbors told officials the home had been vacant for several months.
A recent report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau indicates Ohio continues to lead the nation in metal thefts.
The state reported more than 4-thousand claims between 2011 and 2013 from homes and businesses. Copper was the main target.
A woman who lives on 193rd just a few doors down from the explosion and right next to another vacant home worries criminals who have been steeling metal out of that home could spark a fire. "Her grandkids be over here playing in the back yard," Temekia Robinson tells Golston. "Just like this house down the street blew up... Somebody be up in there doing something wrong… and you know it's always a concern."