Updated Wednesday at 2:25 a.m.: According to a press release issued on behalf of the Tewksbury Fire Department, preliminary investigation has eliminated natural gas as the cause of Tuesday night's home explosion on Astle Street.
Fire Chief Michael Hazel said in the press release that damages are believed to be over $200,000 from the incident.
“Firefighters responded to a dangerous situation and bravely helped three injured people to safety,” Chief Hazel said.
Original Story, Wednesday at 12:45 a.m.: Firefighters and investigators were working late Tuesday night into the early morning Wednesday hours following a house explosion on Astle Street that forced three Tewksbury residents to be taken by helicopter to Boston hospitals.
Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan said it is too early in the investigation to determine if the blast has been deemed suspicious.
He said there is the possibility that two individuals left the scene prior to police, fire and EMS arrival, but added that police are still tracking down leads to determine what connection that may have had to the incident.
All three victims were Tewksbury residents, however, their physical address was not 22 Astle Street, where the explosion took place, Sheehan said. According to Sheehan, one victim is a 20-year-old male, the second is a 21-year-old male and the third is an 18-year-old female.
Two of the victims were transported by medical helicopter to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and another was taken to Mass General Hospital, also by helicopter. Sheehan said it is unclear if the injuries are life threatening, but added that each suffered significant burns to their arms and face.
Police were called to the scene at 9:17 p.m. The victims were loaded into ambulances and brought to the Wal-Mart parking lot less than a mile away, where the helicopters landed. Each of the three people transported was conscious and talking to first responders following the explosion.
Officers blocked the entrance to Astle Street, which is located within several hundred feet of Main Street. According to Sheehan, the home is set back in the woods at the end of a long driveway.
The house is uninhabitable following the explosion, which also caused heavy fire to spread into the attic. Sheehan said the windows were blown out, damage was done to the frame of the home, and some of the roof collapsed.
Just before midnight, arson investigators, the State Fire Marshal, police and firefighters remained on scene. The heavy fire was controlled by around 11 p.m.
Check back with Tewksbury Patch for more on this breaking news as it becomes available.