A 30 year old Omaha woman was killed in an explosion of a house early Monday afternoon near 65th and Sprague Streets in Omaha.
Clara Bender was an inspector for Certified Property Management and had just gone to inspect a home where the tenant had been evicted.
Omaha Fire Department officials say the explosion ruptured a gas line but that was not the cause of the explosion.
Bender’s employer Jeremy Aspen says, “That could be anything from foul play. That has happened around the country. They do sometimes sabotage and eviction is one of those instances where people get mad and it is an emotional situation but there are so many other things that could of happened. The stove could have come dislodged and the gas poured into the property. It seems like it must have been for some time and exactly the right moment something ignited it and we lost Clara because of it.”
Aspen says Clara was a wonderful employee and they are grief stricken with her tragic death. Clara Bender leaves behind a husband and a 10 year old son.
Jeffrey Blount lived next door to the house that exploded and says he had just fixed his children lunch and was cleaning up when the blast happened. He says it pushed him back from the sink. His children were safe but his wife was sleeping in a bedroom. The ceiling had collapsed on top of her.
Blount says, “I came in through a back window and just started pulling the roof off the bed. That and the tile were lying on top of her. First she wasn’t saying anything and then said I’m here. I started grabbing the tile, celling and stuff that was on the bed and on top of her.” Blount says she suffered cuts and bruises but otherwise is ok. A 14 year old boy standing in front of the house was also seriously hurt.
There is nothing left of the house that exploded except the foundation. Three neighboring homes are unsafe to live in. Dozens of other homes were hit by flying debris. The Omaha Homicide Unit is currently investigating Bender’s death. The search continues for the woman who was evicted from the house.