WICHITA, Kan. – A Kansas man died after a house caught fire and then exploded in Wichita on Sunday, authorities said.
Kendal James, 48, of Wichita, was found dead, along with several pets, in the garage of his Wichita home, KAKE-TV reported.
Wichita Fire Department Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz said that while fireworks were found at the home, investigators are continuing to determine what caused the explosion, KWCH-TV reported.
“The Wichita Police Department responded with their EOD team and they did find some fireworks that they were able to take off-site and take it to their bomb range,” Ocadiz told reporters. “But at this time, right now, unknown of specific types and kinds of fireworks and the amount of fireworks.”
Ocadiz said 911 dispatchers received calls about a fire at the residence at about 5:30 p.m. CDT, according to KSNW-TV. Moments later, dispatchers got follow-up calls about explosions in the area.
“I just heard a huge explosion, like a bomb going off, and it rattled like the windows,” Craig Hubbard, who lives in the neighborhood, told the television station.
Another resident, who was not identified, told KAKE that he “almost felt it before I heard” the explosion.
“I thought my house had actually exploded,” the woman told the television station. “If not my house, then my neighbor’s house.”
“We were just sitting in the house, watching TV and we heard this loud ‘bang,’” another neighbor Darrell Gails, told KWCH. “I’m thinking like, ‘Somebody hit my house with a brick or a rock or something.’ It shook my house.”
Fire crews were able to contain the blaze and enter the home, where they discovered James and the animals, KAKE reported. The rest of the residence was clear, according to the television station.
The Wichita Fire Department is continuing to investigate, KAKE reported.