2 dead in N. Portland house explosion

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Officials say two people died following a large explosion at a house in the Piedmont neighborhood Monday.

On Tuesday, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that 42-year-old Matthew McCrann died at the hospital. McCrann’s father, Kevin, confirmed his son’s death by phone Tuesday morning.

The second person has not yet been identified.

Kevin McCrann said he was told his son’s house exploded as a result of a natural gas leak. He declined to offer any additional details on the case or his son, out of respect for his family.

A spokesperson with NW Natural said Tuesday that the investigation is still on-going and that no determination has been made as to whether or not a gas leak is responsible for the explosion or fire.

Portland Fire Lt. Damon Simmons said that a cause to the explosion and fires have not been determined. Investigators, Simmons said, will return to the scene on Tuesday and will be assisted by teams from the Portland Police Bureau, Gresham Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Oregon State Police.

“From our office, officially, the investigation is just starting, ” Simmons said. “This is going to be a long process and we have just started the dig process and don’t have a cause as to what happened.”

Alissa Marie McCrann, 37, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (PPB)

Kevin McCrann confirmed that he is also the father of Alissa McCrann, who was reported missing December 19, 2015. Her car was found in the parking lot of Multnomah Falls three days later. Her disappearance remains an open investigation.

The explosion

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the 6200 block of North Kerby Avenue around 2:30 p.m. on Monday on reports that a house had exploded. KOIN 6 News has confirmed that Matthew McCrann is the registered owner of the house that exploded.

The explosion damaged the two neighboring homes. Debris landed throughout Peninsula Park, which is directly across from the blast site.

Officials confirmed Matthew McCrann was found badly injured in a neighbor’s backyard. Hippie Mike told KOIN 6 News he found McCrann, who reportedly said he was loading clothes in his dryer when the explosion occurred.

Hippie Mike also said McCrann told him he hoped his contractor got out. It’s currently unclear if the other person who died in the fire was McCrann’s contractor.

American Medical Response (AMR) confirms only one person was transported from the fire scene to The Legacy Oregon Burn Center in North Portland.

The second victim was found deceased at the fire scene, according to law enforcement officials. The Medical Examiner’s Office has not released that person’s identity.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Firefighters confirmed that a natural gas line was ruptured, which contributed to the fire, but they do not know if the line was damaged before or after the explosion.

On Tuesday morning, a chained-linked fence was put up around the properties that were damaged by the explosion and fire. Parts of Peninsula Park remained closed because of the on-going investigation and the potential for there to be shards of glass in the grass.

KOIN 6 News Reporter Chris Holmstrom contributed to this report.

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