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Officials say Columbia home explosion in May was intentionally set

Investigators from the Columbia Fire and Police departments have determined a home explosion that happened almost five months ago was intentionally set.

The explosion and fire resulted in one death, which officials say is now ruled a suicide.

Columbia Fire Department Assistant Chief Brad Fraizer said the department’s investigation showed there was an accelerant used in the basement of the house and found what investigators believe to be a suicide note from the resident of the home.

“It’s our belief that gasoline was used and even in smaller amounts if there’s enough fume buildup and the right conditions, it can create an explosion like we saw,” Fraizer said. ” There was quite a bit of gas that we believe was used in the basement and that led to the explosion and resulting fire.”

The investigation has been ongoing for almost five months.

“We took our time,” Fraizer said. “We wanted to make sure we look at every scenario as we do with every investigation, or death investigation for that matter.”

Fraizer said the department received a final results from tests the departments were conducting Friday, which led to the case being closed.

“We tested for a variety of things,” Fraizer said. “There was also a medical examiner’s report and a few other reports we were waiting on and sometimes those lab tests take a while to come back.”

Fraizer said the extent of the damage also played a role in how long the investigation took.

“In a scene like that with so much damage, we had to bring in heavy equipment, and we had to make sure it was safe for our investigators,” Fraizer said. “That scene time took a little bit longer because of that.”

He said the amount of water used to extinguish the fire can also delay the investigation.

“That can create a situation where it takes a little bit longer to get results back and get the proper samples,” Fraizer said. “All that can lead to a longer response time when it comes to results for things like chemicals that were used and that type of thing.”

ABC17 News was at the scene at 2112 Southwood Drive off Old 63 in Columbia on May 29 around 9:30 a.m. when officials originally responded to the fire.

Three people and a dog lived at the home, but firefighters didn’t immediately know whether anyone was home. Around 6:30 p.m. that night, The Fire Department released the news that a death had occurred in the fire.

The first units at the scene reported flames showing and heavy black smoke at the home.

In May, Fraizer said firefighters initially had been concerned about the house next door being affected by the flames, but firefighters were able to keep the blaze from spreading.

Watch ABC17 News after the game for a full report.


Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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