Latest on Weinbach Avenue explosion, coroner releases autopsies of victims

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – The coroner has released the preliminary causes of death for the three people killed in last week’s home explosion in N. Weinbach.

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

Deputy Chief Coroner David Anson said Charles and Martina Hite’s preliminary cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest, and Jessica Teague’s preliminary cause of death was compression asphyxiation.

Evansville Fire Department Division Chief Mike Larson said Monday began the slow, methodical process of the investigation.

Monday is the first day teams have been able to get behind the fence and investigate the area where the blast occurred.

Chief Larson says the investigation is now with the Indiana Fire Bureau.

He says the teams on site 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-inch and 36-inch storm drain, as well as a 36-inch combination sewer that sits below North Weinbach Avenue.

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

“It’s going to be a while,” Larson said. “I don’t know exactly when we will be able to have answers, but we don’t have the chance to do it a second time. So they are very careful throughout the process and make sure we leave nothing to chance.

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

He says a survey like this is very tedious.

“I can’t stress enough that this is a very slow process,” Larson said. “I mean really it’s just, you move little 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 it and find out exactly what’s going on. happened a week ago.

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

She sent us the following statement:

“Jessica was an amazing and wonderful person. She loved all of God’s creatures, big and small. Jessica hated any type of animal abuse, and Lord help you if she ever caught someone doing something to the smallest insect (mostly a cat) the blue whale. Jess went to Henderson Community College and got an associate degree in computer science which she worked hard to get. She worked at the Rural King and Red Banks nursing home during her college education.Jessica was currently working at Toyota Bushuku on the night shift.Jessica loved her friends/colleagues in Bushuku.Jessica was so proud of herself that she saved enough to buy a house instead of living in an apartment on South Green River Road. Jessica was interested in anime and video games during some of her spare time. Her main focus was her two cats Pepper and Bell whom she loved very much. We prefer We mourn her beautiful life in private right now.

Funeral arrangements for Hites are set for Tuesday.

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

The explosion damaged 39 houses.

[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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