Owen County home explosion ruled suicide

Chopper 8 captures the damage from a home explosion in Owen County on Nov. 16, 2016. (WISH Photo)
Chopper 8 captures the damage from a home explosion in Owen County on Nov. 16, 2016. (WISH Photo)

OWEN COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A deadly home explosion in Owen County last week was intentionally set by the homeowner and has been ruled a suicide, according to fire investigators.

The blast destroyed a home Nov. 16 on N. County Line Road in Spencer, burning contents valued at $400,000 and killing 84-year-old Don Richards.

The state fire marshal’s office said Richards told others he would blow up his house due to foreclosure.

Richards died from the shockwave blast, according to the Owen County coroner. It was ruled a suicide.

Witnesses told investigators a large number of gas cans were seen in the garage and cardboard had been placed over vents, according to the fire marshal.

Investigators said accelerants were placed around the house and the furnace was missing a gas valve.

“I was home this afternoon and it literally sounded like a bomb had gone off,” Amanda Hottinger, who lives nearby, told 24-Hour News 8 on the day of the explosion. “It shook the whole house, it rattled windows, it was crazy. I thought it was an earthquake at first.”