Debris from House Explosion Remains

The remains of the house on Mapmaker Lane.
The remains of the house on Mapmaker Lane.

It's been almost two months since a house exploded and rocked a Whitemarsh Island neighborhood, but it could be several more months until the debris from the explosion is cleaned up. The house was located on Mapmaker Lane in the Battery Point community.

Broken glass from windows and crime scene tape still litter the yard. People who live around say they are tired of looking at it. At first, they saw the exploded house as a tragedy. Now they see it as an eyesore.

It's also become a popular attraction for passers by. "It brings a lot of people to the neighborhood, like the first day it blew up, a whole bunch of people came," said area resident Michael Johnson.

Other neighbors say the wind carries the smell of the charred structure into their homes.

The ATF investigated the explosion. They say the man who lived there--25-year-old Quang Tran--doused the home with a flammable liquid. Then it ignited, trapped Tran inside, and killed him. When the ATF finished its investigation on November 19, the county took over.

The Chatham County Health Department took a look at the property on November 24, and since it's obviously unlivable, they condemned it. The guidelines for cleaning up the mess are the same as any regular house fire. That means the property owner is responsible, in this case Tran's parents.

"The property owners have been notified they either have to make repairs or either do demolition on the home," said Dewayne Tanner with the health department.

Tanner says the owners were notified by mail on November 30 and they have 120 days from that point to clean up the property. The deadline is the end of March.

Neighbors would like to see signs of a clean up much sooner. "Like start bringing people over just to start cleaning some of this stuff up, but it shouldn't take four months to tear that house down," said Johnson.

We could not track down the property owners and don't know whether they have insurance. We'll continue to follow what happens in the next four months.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter,