Cause of Hopkins house explosion that killed couple revealed

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Bring Me The News
Tommy Wiita

An investigation into the Hopkins house explosion that killed an elderly couple in July has been completed.

Hopkins Police, along with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal, said an unattached gas line is to blame for the explosion.

The incident killed Herb, 85, and Sharon Vassar, 83.

According to police, the investigation revealed that the house's water heater was recently replaced, with a gas line not getting reattached following the installation. The home is in the area of 2nd St. N. and 21st Ave. N.

"This allowed gas to leak into the residence and eventually ignite," authorities said.

Investigators aren't sure what caused the explosion, noting that natural gas can be ignited by anything from "light switches, static electricity or pilot lights," among other sources.

The explosion and fire has been ruled an accident.

The Star Tribune reports that Herb had done the installation himself. A city permit is required to do so, and the police department is still looking into whether he had one.

The couple was married for 64 years, according to a GoFundMe set up by one of their five children. Herb built the home in 1962.

As of Wednesday morning, the fundraiser has raised just over $8,500 of its $20,000 goal to pay for funeral costs.

Hopkins Fire Chief Dale Specken said that residents as far as 15 blocks away heard the explosion.

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