Body Found in Phoenix Apartment Blast

Authorities found a body Thursday in the rubble of an apartment building demolished by two explosions and a fire, but did not know whether it was that of the complex's only missing resident.


PHOENIX (AP) -- Authorities found a body Thursday in the rubble of an apartment building demolished by two explosions and a fire, but did not know whether it was that of the complex's only missing resident.

The badly damaged body was found near the point of the first explosion, which originated in the apartment of missing caretaker Dale Wayne Barry, fire officials said. It was not immediately clear when an autopsy would be conducted.

Nine people were injured, one critically, when two explosions about five minutes apart destroyed the two-story, eight-unit building early Wednesday.

The cause remained under investigation. A Southwest Gas spokesman said crews found no underground gas leaks.

Barry, 49, had been served with an eviction notice for failing to pay rent, court records show.

Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza said Wednesday that officials were conducting a criminal investigation. But police, fire and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigators denied that Thursday, saying they didn't know whether a crime had been committed.

``This is just a fire investigation; it is not a criminal investigation,'' Assistant Fire Chief Bob Khan said. ``Mr. Barry is just missing.''

The most seriously injured victim, a 35-year-old man, was in critical condition Thursday with burns and trauma, said Maricopa Medical Center spokeswoman Sarah Harper.

About 350 people were displaced by the explosions and fire, but 290 had returned to their apartments by Thursday, Khan said. Most of the other residents were expected to return by early Friday.

The blasts caused major damage to 16 nearby apartments, said Red Cross spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer. Fifty to 60 windows were shattered by the explosions as bricks were catapulted onto cars in the parking lot.