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November 22, 2013

Corbin man dies in 'massive' explosion

Neighbors report a ‘big boom,’ duplex consumed in blaze

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A “massive” explosion in a Corbin neighborhood left one man dead and two others homeless Thursday morning.

Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy Gilbert Acciardo said the deceased man was identified as 29-year-old Neil Spitzer, who resided at the KY 1223 Dorthae Road duplex.

Acciardo said Spitzer’s body will be sent to Frankfort today for an autopsy.

Neighbors reported hearing a “big boom” at 11:15 a.m. and according to Acciardo, a Knox Utilities meter reader witnessed the explosion and contacted 911 dispatchers.

Deputies Kevin Berry, John Inman and Shane Rice arrived with first responders to the blaze — and found the residence fully engulfed in flames.

Thick, black smoke could be seen rising to the sky from several miles away.

Once fire crews had the blaze under control, Spitzer’s body was located in a burned-out four-door Dodge Neon, which was parked under a carport directly behind the residence.

“The body (and car) were totally consumed (by fire),” Acciardo said at the scene. “It was burned beyond recognition.”

Detective Charlie Loomis leads the investigation, and arson investigator Brian Lewis was called to the scene to determine the cause of the explosion and subsequent fire.

“We’re not even sure what caused the explosion,” Acciardo said. “It is undetermined at this point.”

Dorthae Road was closed while crews worked at the scene.

The residents of the other half of the duplex were not identified, but Acciardo did say they were accounted for and were not injured.

Several friends and family of the unidentified duplex residents came to the scene in support — the residents had pets in the home at the time of the fire and explosion.

Sheriff John Root and Lt. Chuck Johnson assisted Loomis at the scene. Other agencies working at the explosion and fire include crew members with the Lily Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, the West Knox Volunteer Fire Department, CampGround Volunteer Fire Department, London Fire and Rescue Department, Laurel County Fire Department, the London-Laurel County EMS, Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County, Laurel County EMS, Laurel County Emergency Management, the Kentucky State Police department, the state Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as several Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies.

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