Officials release names of victims in Clinton County explosion

Local
Clinton Co. explosion_297370

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) – The identities have been released of the two people who died in a fire that ripped through a home in Frankfort last Friday.

Emergency crews were called to S. County Road 500 West around 3:15 p.m. following a report of an explosion. Firefighters found 63-year-old Charles Benefiel and 58-year-old Linda Benefiel dead inside the residence.

An autopsy revealed the two likely died due to inhalation of superheated air, according to Coroner Amanda Abbott. She said she used medical records to help identify the victims.

Following an investigation, Tim Murray with the State Fire Marshal’s Office has concluded an undetermined liquid propane explosion occurred inside the home. Murray said due to the extensive damage, neither the source of the propane leak, nor the ignition source of the blast can be determined.

Murray said there is no sign of foul play. He said while the explosion is believed to be accidental, the official cause has been ruled undetermined.

Detective Jerrad Blacker, with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office who assisted with the investigation, spoke with multiple witnesses who reported seeing the explosion. One witness reported seeing debris flying through the air and a fire ball topping the trees.

Blacker said the home was leveled upon arrival of emergency crews, and all structures on the property were engulfed in fire. Due to conditions, firefighters were unable to make initial entry into the home for some time.

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