Man dead after garage explodes in Council Bluffs

Police said he was cutting a compressed natural gas tank
We now know what caused the explosion that killed a man in Council Bluffs.
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 12:15 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - A man was killed in an explosion in a Council Bluffs neighborhood on Tuesday.

Council Bluffs Police confirmed that he was found dead at the scene. Police said told 6 News he was working in a detached garage at a home near 35th Street and Avenue G when an explosion occurred while he was cutting a compressed natural gas tank.

Black Hills Energy and the Council Bluffs Fire Department secured the area. According to Black Hills Energy, gas service is still on for the surrounding residents.

Just before 12 p.m., police asked people to avoid the area after a reported explosion and gas leak. Police have since said the scene and adjacent area are safe.

Investigators later said they believe there was no gas leak in the surrounding area and that the incident was an accident.

The 3400 to 3500 block of Avenue G and the 600 to 800 block of Norther 35th Street remain closed to vehicles and pedestrians as the investigation continues.

Access to apartments just north of the scene can be made from 34th Street.

The Council Bluffs Fire Department is leading the investigation.

Investigators say the victim was cutting into a natural gas tank when the explosion happened. (Source: WOWT)

People who live in the area are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Witnesses told 6 News they heard and felt the explosion from two-to-three blocks away.

“My whole house shook, everything shook,” said Christina Thacker. “Thought maybe it was like colliding trucks or something.”

Sal and Anthony Savala were watching television when they heard a big explosion.

“And the house just literally, like it was coming off the ground,” Anthony said. “And then there was stuff falling off the wall in the bathroom. “At first I said to my dad it sounded like a bomb, then we thought it was upstairs because it was that close.”

Anthony’s father Sal went out to investigate. He said he saw the explosion had littered debris across the block and blew the victim out onto the street.

“I didn’t know what to think my emotions kicked in,” Sal said. “Started crying when I seen what I seen. I never seen nothing like that before.”


This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.