Authorities say leaking gas may have led to an explosion and fire that destroyed a vacant, foreclosed house Friday afternoon in Circle Pines.
Officials believed the house was empty at the time and that no one was injured.
Firefighters were called just after 1 p.m. to the single-story house at 12 Circle Drive. They arrived to find the house intact with fire shooting from blown-out windows, said Centennial Fire Chief Jerry Streich. The roof eventually collapsed, Streich said. Firefighters later worked to remove the roof with heavy equipment while law enforcement officers tried to contact the owner.
Streich called the blast a "low-order" explosion, meaning it started a fire but wasn't strong enough on its own to destroy the house. He said the source of the suspected gas leak wasn't yet known.
"There was a gas odor, but I'm not sure what type of gas," he said. "....We're not calling it natural gas at this time."
He noted that workers had been in the house and could have used liquid propane or some other gas from portable tanks as part of their work.
The fire melted some siding on a nearby home, he said.