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Charles Hite Biography
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Charlie and Martina Hite, two of the three people who died in the horrific Indiana house explosion Wednesday, were partners in marriage and in business with a connection to their community.
Authorities on Thursday identified the three people killed in a house explosion that rocked a suburban Indiana neighborhood and damaged nearly 40 homes.
The Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office released the names of the dead: Charles “Charlie” Hite, 43; Martina Hite, 37; and Jessica Teague, 29.
Surveillance footage from a nearby building showed an explosion before debris exploded into the air, followed by a billow of smoke. Evansville Fire Department officials said 11 of the 39 damaged homes were left uninhabitable after the blast.
The neighborhood was in tatters on Wednesday, the splintered remains of houses dumped across the street. First responders searched for the victims.
An explosion in Evansville, Indiana, killed at least three people.
This is what we know:
Steve Hite was on his way to his brother Charlie’s house when, a minute before 1 p.m. m., the house exploded.
Charlie and his wife, Martina, were inside. They were both killed. Teague, the third victim, was in a neighboring house and was killed in the blast.
Steve Hite’s son, Aaron, said his father is devastated.
“I wish I had picked it up sooner,” Aaron said. “It’s really hitting him hard.”
Charlie and Martina Hite worked for Fresh Market and had a table at Cowboy Jim’s Flea Market in town. Charlie volunteered for the Harrison High School football team, shooting videos and handing out equipment.
Aaron Hite said his aunt and uncle were loving and understanding. Aaron said that Charlie helped him move into his first apartment in Evansville. Martina Hite, he said, loved the color purple and wearing purple outfits.
“It’s hard, really,” Aaron said of the loss.
3 dead and families displaced
Three people died and one person was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries Wednesday, Evansville Fire Chief Mike Connelly said Thursday morning.
The Red Cross helped about 15 families, providing most with hotel room accommodations, said Beth Sweeney, executive director of the American Red Cross Southwest Indiana Chapter. The organization is working to provide families with food, water and clothing.
A Gofundme has been created to cover the couple’s end-of-life expenses and anything else the family may need.
Jessica Teague, 29, was the third person killed in the blast.
A Ring Doorbell camera captured the terrifying moment a house exploded in Evansville, Indiana, killing the Hites and Teagues and damaging 39 homes in a residential neighborhood.
Maddie Struble posted the video on Facebook Wednesday night, showing flying debris before it clears to reveal the front porch of her home with an American flag still waving.
Bent and broken roof shingles were seen on top of the porch, as smoke engulfed the area and a home across the street was destroyed.
‘Luckily Trevor and I weren’t home; however, our house is uninhabitable,” Struble captioned the video.
“We cannot thank the Evansville Police Department for all of their help in finding our dogs and returning them to us,” she wrote, noting, “Our cat is still out there so keep an eye out for him.”
“Our hearts go out to the people across the street who lost their lives in this tragic event.”
The explosion was reported around 1 p.m. in the 1000 block of North Weinbach Avenue in Evansville and had a blast radius of 100 feet, authorities said, completely leveling one home where the blast occurred, splitting another in half and severely damaging 39 others.
One resident, Dorthy Waters, described the explosion as a “sonic boom”.
“I thought a bomb fell on us or a tree fell through the house,” she told 14 News. ‘It shook so hard, it went through my chest, it rattled my windows.
“I don’t know what happened, but I am very sad for these people.”
Three people died on impact and one other was transported to a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Their names have not yet been released, pending notification of relatives.
Authorities are now warning there may be others after they called off search efforts Wednesday night due to “unstable” homes, Fire Chief Mike Connelly said at a news conference Thursday morning.
He said crews were being called to the scene on Thursday to shore up houses so the Fire Department could continue its search efforts, but at least 11 houses must be completely demolished and are ‘uninhabitable’.
The American Red Cross assisted 15 families who were displaced by the explosion.
Evansville firefighters were expected to give an update at 11 a.m. local time.
Charles Hite Quick and Facts
- Charlie and Martina Hite, two of the three people who died in the horrific Indiana house explosion Wednesday, were partners in marriage and in business
- The couple, 43 and 37, both worked at the same Fresh Market store in Evansville Indiana and also had a regular flea market table
- Charlie was a volunteer for the high school football team. His brother Steve was picking him up to head for the football field when the blast hit
- Aaron Hite, Steve’s son and Charlie’s nephew, said the couple had no children, only pets
- He added that his aunt and uncle were loving and supportive and had helped him move into his first Evansville apartment
- Jessica Teague, 29, was the third person killed in the explosion