UPDATE: Explosion, fire destroy Bettsville home

BETTSVILLE — Bags of charred family photos were all that remained of a Bettsville home Thursday after an early morning explosion reduced the 58-year-old structure to nothing more than ashes and rubble.

The home was unoccupied and no one was injured.

Built in 1956 by the late Page Mader, the house at 101 Monroe St. was completely destroyed after an apparent natural gas leak caused an explosion, engulfing the home in fire and smoke.

“It’s just an awful loss,” said a stunned Richard Mader, Page’s son. “You live there for years and years and then it’s gone.”

The explosion was reported at about 8:15 a.m. Thursday when neighbors heard a thunderous boom followed by towering flames.

No one was living at the residence at the time of the blast. The structure had been vacant for nearly three years following Page’s death, a neighbor said.

Bettsville, Kansas, Bascom and Old Fort fire departments battled the blaze with three other units on standby.

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