State Police Identify Man Killed in Pennsboro Explosion - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

State Police Identify Man Killed in Pennsboro Explosion

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Update

West Virginia State Police have released the name of a Ritchie County man killed in an Oct. 21 explosion at his Pennsboro home.

Sgt. Clint Boring of the Harrisville detachment said Robert Lee Holmes, 73, died as a result of an explosion at his home on East Myles Avenue. No foul play is suspected in Holmes' death, said Sgt. Boring.

The State Fire Marshal and state police believe that a natural gas leak caused the fire.  The investigation is ongoing.

Original Story

An explosion in Ritchie County killed a man and set fire to two houses Monday night, according to the Pennsboro Volunteer Fire Department.

The explosion was reported to 911 just before 10:30 p.m. on East Myles Avenue in Pennsboro. Four fire departments were on the scene for several hours, but had it under control before 3 a.m. The body of the man killed in the explosion has been sent to the medical examiner's office in Charleston, said West Virginia State Police Sgt. Clint Boring. The man is believed to be a resident of one of the homes that exploded, although he hasn't been positively identified as of Wednesday. The man used an oxygen tank for breathing due to a medical condition, Sgt. Boring said.

State Police and 911 officials are not releasing any information about a potential cause of the blast at this time. State police said they think the incident may have been accidental, but there is a possibility of suicide.

Frontier Communications copper and fiber lines were badly damaged in the explosion, resulting in an outage that impacted three counties, said Frontier spokesman Dan Page. Crews were at the scene Tuesday repairing the lines to restore service to the area. The West Virginia Division of Highways closed WV 74 in Pennsboro at the junction of Ritchie County Route 50/39 and 50/40 while crews repair utility lines, according to the DOH. As of Wednesday, the all service was restored.

West Virginia State Police are investigating, along with Assistant State Fire Marshal Jason Baltic.

Check back for updates.