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"Madison Ave" explosion aftermath

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Late Tuesday afternoon, Cleveland city council members and other leaders were still trying to find housing and possessions for the families displaced by Monday's Madison Avenue explosion and fire. In all, 57 homes were damaged, some nearly blown off their foundations, and one totally destroyed.

Some on the council also think new legislation might be in order to help prevent similar accidents in the future.
ideastream's Rick Jackson reports

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm

It appears the cause of the explosion was a natural gas leak.
Neighbors had suspected a problem several days ago.

A spokeswoman for Dominion East Ohio Gas confirmed to 90.3 that its' workers went to that same Madison Avenue house last week following an odor complaint, and working with the Cleveland Fire Department "....made the area safe."

Matt Zone, who represents the neighborhood on city council, says gas valves were shut off 'inside' the building but a break-in last week had likely caused damage that lead to the leak and the detonation.

Zone fears similar incidents could happen city-wide, and blames the foreclosure crisis for the larger problem, including long-distance speculators who buy foreclosed properties without ever inspecting them or maintaining them.

"They're bottom feeders as far as I'm concerned. They bought this property sight unseen. They don't know the intimate needs of that particular house, nor how it fits into the whole neighborhood strategy and plan."}

Zone says the explosion is giving new urgency to a city ordinance that was proposed at the tail end of 2009. The Utility Disconnect Ordinance would require property owners to guarantee all utilities are shut off as soon as any home is vacated.

The city is also working with the non-profit , soliciting donations for the displaced renters along Madison and West 83rd.

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