Man sentenced for Canon City house explosion

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UPDATE 9/16/15
A man who pleaded guilty to arson charges after he blew up a home in Canon City was sentenced Wednesday.

This house was completely destroyed in the explosion on Sept. 4. The occupant was thrown from the house, and suffered burn injuries.

Mathew Christensen will serve 90 days in jail. He will also have to pay $300,000.00 in restitution and be on probation for 15 years, according to Sarah Rose with the Canon City Daily Record.

In September 2014, Christensen told 11 News he disconnected a hose to his furnace, hoping the gas would kill him.

Debris from the explosion scattered across the neighborhood damaging nearby homes.

Dozens of neighbors were evacuated.

Christensen was severely burned.

Previous Story:
UPDATE 5/6: A southern Colorado man accused of blowing up his home in a suicide attempt pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday, according to Sarah Rose with the Canon City Daily Record.

Mathew Christensen is charged with arson and criminal mischief in the Sept. 4 explosion in Canon City.

Rose told 11 News that even though Christensen didn't plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his attorney plans to bring up his mental health as part of his defense.

Christensen is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 24 to Sept. 2 of this year.

Earlier attempts at reaching a plea deal failed, probably because the defense and prosecution could not agree on how much restitution Christensen should pay, according to Rose.

Several nearby homes were damaged in the explosion and dozens of neighbors were evacuated. Christensen was severely burned.

He told 11 News at the time of the blast that he tried to kill himself by disconnecting his furnace, hoping the gas would kill him

The Canon City Police Department says the explosion was "a direct result of an air/natural gas detonation."

Detectives later said the explosion allegedly was intentionally caused by Christensen during a suicide attempt.

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PREVIOUS 9/19/14: Investigators in Canon City are still working to determine if a man inside a home that exploded will face any charges.

The man, identified as 32-year-old Mathew Christensen, told 11 News from his hospital bed that he tried to kill himself by disconnecting his furnace, hoping the gas would kill him. But instead, he allegedly caused an explosion, forcing the evacuation of dozens of neighbors.

The explosion happened at 2 a.m. Thursday. Flames shot 20 feet in the air. It was an explosion that shook the entire block and jolted neighbors right out of bed. Christensen ended up in his yard when the blast threw him from his home, severely burned but still alive.

"The boom was horrendous, whooom,” said Lou Otte.

Otte lives right next door. Her son was asleep in the basement, just a few feet away from the blast.

“He could have died like that. The window fell about this far [spreads arms about 2 feet] from his head. It was the whole window, the pane and everything."

Otte and her family were forced to stay in hotel on Thursday night because her home is now covered in glass.

“There were shards of glass like this, stuck in the wall that had to have flow straight over her bed and into the wall,” said Otte.

“I was like, 'Was that a bomb? An earthquake?” questioned neighbor Sarah Harrison.

“It was like a bomb, complete bomb," another neighbor said.

The man who was inside the home says it was a suicide attempt, but that does not sit well with neighbors.

“If you're going to do something like that, it's horrible you would involve so many people and children,” said Harrison.

"To think that somebody wanted to take their life, I can give permission, but do they have permission to put others in danger? I can't see that,” said Otte.

The Canon City Police Department says they are waiting on the insurance company's report before they decide whether they are filing any charges.

The man who lives at the home told us he's been meeting with therapists at the hospital. We’re told his wife recently left him.

Remember if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, there is always help. The number to call is 1-800-273-8255.




 
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