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Neighbors clean up after house explosion claims the lives of two in rural Knox County

RAPATEE, Illinois –- Neighbors are cleaning up after a house explosion in Knox County killed two people.  It happened in Rapatee, Illinois, southeast of Galesburg, around 11:30AM Sunday morning.

One day after a house exploded off Illinois 97 shards of wood, books, and pieces of furniture are what is left behind.  The victim’s family was on the scene picking up what’s left of the home.

Four houses, a church, and a pile of debris are what one road of the quaint Knox County town is left with.

Jolene DeYoung says she knew the two victims well.

“I was just here for Easter dinner with them and they are a very good family,” says DeYoung.

She says she was in her home down the street when she felt the rumble.

“I’m from California and it felt like an earthquake ripped through the air and dropped you down,” DeYoung remembers.

The blast happened while a church service was going on across the street and shattered nearby homes.

“It broke windows all the way down the street,” DeYoung explains.

She’s cleaning up what the explosion left in the roadway, for a family who was there for her and the rest of the community.

“That’s what I’m cleaning a lot of: insulation and paper,” DeYoung describes. “I just want it to be cleaned up, so they don’t have the horrible memory of it.”

The one road town continues to stick together after a blast that nearly broke it apart.

“It’s a very close-knit family community here where everybody knows everybody and we all watch out for each other,” DeYoung says.

Knox County Sheriff’s Department said no one else was injured at the time or home in the surrounding houses.  However, there were people at the church service going on across the street.

The fire marshal met with the coroner this afternoon, no names or cause will be released until Tuesday morning.

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