TODAY   |  November 13, 2012

Authorities probe cause of Indiana explosion

Without warning Saturday night, an explosion and fire completely engulfed an Indianapolis neighborhood, killing two and causing as many as 200 residents to flee their homes. Authorities are now investigating what caused the horrific explosion. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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>>> investigators are zeroing in on the cause of a deadly house explosion that devastated an indianapolis neighborhood over the weekend. nbc's ron allen is there with the latest. good morning to you, ron.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. we're getting a much closer look at the incredible damage here now. investigators say the evidence still points to some kind of a gas explosion . the owner of the home where the blast occurred has told authorities he thinks a faulty gas furnace might be to explain. no one was home at the time. meanwhile, the investigation continues, and some residents have been allowed home briefly to pick up the pieces of whatever they can salvage. like most residents who live close to the blast site nick was given an hour with an escort to look at what's left of his home, living room walls cracked and windows and doors blown out. he lives 30 yards from where investigators say something exploded. the fire lit up the saturday night sky . the force of the blast so powerful it was heard miles away , and damaged as many as 80 homes. this is what the community looked like before and after the explosion and fire. public safety director troy riggs gave up a close-up look at the damage, a sea of scorched and better home. debris and shattered glass in every direction.

>> you can see the homes here. you'll see the roofs that are buckled, windows northbound out and garage doors that are blasted in. i mean, it's a -- it's hard to explain unless you've been here.

>> reporter: at the epicenter of the blast, a black hole where two homes were obliterated. next door is where relatives say dion longworth and his wife jennifer died, a beloved second grade teacher.

>> she was never like yelling at anybody. she would always be nice and encouraging.

>> reporter: investigators say dozens of homes may be uninhabitable, and fire or six beyond repair, headed for demolition. authorities are working to make the neighborhood safe, and while they think this explosion may have been caused by a gas leak , they are still trying to figure out what would ignite such a powerful blast. natalie?

>> ron allen in indianapolis. thanks