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Two people killed in house explosion in rural Knox County

Two people were killed after a house explosion off Illinois 97 that took place during a church service going on across the street.

RAPATEE, Illinois -- Two people were killed Sunday morning in a house explosion at Illinois 97 and North Street in Rapatee in rural Knox County.

A Fulton County Emergency Management statement said that it happened at about 11:30 a.m. Fairview Fire Department responded to scene to find scattered debris in the roadway, power lines and nearby homes.

Emergency responders have closed the section of Illinois 97 and ask that people avoid the area and seek alternative routes, as it is likely the road will remain closed until Monday morning.

Houses next door, across the street, and down the block were damaged as well from the explosion - windows blown out, foundation ripped up, and roofs caving in.  A church service was going on across the street during the time of the blast.

"Well when the blast went off that was in service," says Carl Bock, a nearby resident.  "You can see the church is across the street from the explosion site. I didn't take a good look but they say the house right next to it, it's off the foundation. They sides caved in pretty good."

Fairview Fire called for mutual aid from surrounding Maquon Fire, Farmington Fire and London Mills Fire Departments, which began to conduct search and rescue operations and extinguish the fire. Fulton County Emergency

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Management said the home was supplied by a propane tank in the yard and that there are no natural gas lines in the area.

AMEREN Crews restored power to area homes after it was out for the afternoon.

This is a developing story.

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