The Jan. 27 explosion and fire at a duplex at 147 Cheshire St. has been ruled accidental by investigators.

The Jan. 27 explosion and fire at a duplex at 147 Cheshire St. has been ruled accidental by investigators.

The investigation was conducted by the state fire marshal's office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, city police, and firefighters from Delaware and Liberty Township.

The residents of the occupied side of the duplex, Vickie and Rick Rice, were at home at the time of the explosion and were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware with non-life threatening injuries, according to fire officials.

The duplex was destroyed and two other homes were damaged. Total loss has been set at $218,000.

"A team of investigators examined the on-scene evidence and conducted interviews throughout the day," according to a press release from the fire marshal's office. They "were able to rule out all intentional and criminal acts. Investigators say they could not rule out a malfunction of the natural gas delivery system into the home as a possible cause. Representatives from the utility providers and insurance company will conduct additional testing at a later date."

"Thanks to a cooperative effort with the Delaware Fire and Police Departments, the Liberty Township Fire Department and the ATF, we were able to quickly and confidently determine this was an accidental explosion and fire," state fire marshal Michael P. Bell said in a release.

"We are thankful that two citizens were able to safely walk away from this incident despite the devastating loss of their home."