Tony Dejak  /  AP
Investigators look over the damage after a house explosion on Wednesday in Cleveland. The blast demolished an apparently unoccupied home, leaving a hole.
updated 5/12/2010 3:13:05 PM ET 2010-05-12T19:13:05

An explosion rattled Cleveland and its suburbs on Wednesday, destroying three houses, damaging at least 12 others and injuring at least 11 people, though none seriously, authorities said.

The blast around 8 a.m. demolished an apparently unoccupied home, leaving a hole. Only the chimney was left of one adjacent home, and another had just one wall standing.

Authorities evacuated the street where the explosion occurred, located on the city's east side, and were checking for leaking natural gas. City and federal authorities were trying to determine the cause of the blast.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Gray said the injuries were minor, mostly burns. MetroHealth Medical Center said it received six adults and five children from the scene.

Vacant home
Neighbors told firefighters that the house that blew up was vacant, Gray said.

People living in suburbs at least 10 miles away reported feeling the explosion.

Neil Durbin, a spokesman for Dominion East Ohio, said crews were canvassing the area for gas leaks and shut off service to 17 homes as a safety measure.

A public school located in the neighborhood closed for the day before students arrived.

A blast in January destroyed a house on the city's west side and damaged more than 50 others. A neighbor with two arson convictions has been charged in that explosion.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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