Evansville house explosion: Family mourns couple killed after house explodes in Indiana

ByMitch Carter, WFIE
Friday, August 12, 2022
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A husband and wife have been identified as two of the victims killed in the house explosion.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- The coroner has released the names of the three people that were killed in the Evansville, Indiana, home explosion earlier this week.

Husband and wife, 43-year-old Charles Hite and 37-year-old Martina Hite lived in the house where the explosion took place. Their neighbor, 29-year-old Jessica Teague, was also killed, officials said.

Now, members of the Hite family are remembering their loved ones.

Aaron Hite was close with his uncle, Charles.

"I was like peas in a pod, basically really close to him," Aaron said.

Aaron said he got the news about the explosion while at work. He rushed to the hospital where he learned his uncle had already passed. Martina died soon after, WFIE reported.

WATCH: Cause sought for Evansville, Indiana house explosion that killed 3

"When I heard about it, I was in the waiting room, my mind was just blank. I couldn't think, I was devastated. I was so scared and upset. It was hard," Aaron said.

Members of their family say Charles and Martina worked together at Fresh Market. Charles loved his CB radio, and Martina loved cats.

Aaron said they were a great aunt and uncle, adding that their family is taking the loss hard and it's overwhelming to consider how suddenly things can change.

"Anything can happen quick," he said. "You don't know in the next second what's going to happen. You don't know if something could happen, you just don't know. It hurts."

The morning of the explosion, Aaron talked to his uncle on the phone. Since then, he's thought a lot about their conversation.

"His last words were 'I love you,'" Aaron recalled.

Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said a total of 39 houses were damaged by the explosion. At least 11 of the 39 homes damaged are "uninhabitable," Connelly added.

The cause of the explosion has not been determined, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating. CenterPoint Energy, the local gas utility, was last called to the home in January 2018, Connelly said.

"CenterPoint Energy is working closely with the Evansville Fire Department, State Fire Marshal and other agencies as the investigation of this incident continues," the utility said.

WATCH: Woman recounts house explosion in Indiana

Aerial video posted on social media shows damage in a residential neighborhood with police and fire vehicles on the scene in Evansville, on the Kentucky border.

"Debris is strewn over a 100-foot (30-meter) radius," including "typical construction materials" such as wooden boards, window glass and insulation, Connelly said.

It was the second house explosion in the area in just over five years. A house explosion on June 27, 2017, killed two people and injured three others.

Wednesday's explosion also brought to mind a massive blast in 2012 that destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes on Indianapolis' south side and killed two people. A man was convicted of tampering with a natural gas line at his then-girlfriend's home in an attempt to commit insurance fraud, with the explosion killing two next-door neighbors. That man, his half-brother and girlfriend all received long prison sentences.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.