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Man interviewed in disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts hurt in house explosion

He was trying to light a space heater.

Posted: Feb 7, 2019 8:02 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 8:03 PM

BROOKLYN, Iowa (AP) — A Poweshiek County farmer has been injured in a suspected gas explosion that leveled his home.

The Des Moines Register reports the explosion happened just before 10 a.m. Thursday on the 70-acre farm of Wayne Cheney that sits about 13 miles southeast of Brooklyn in east-central Iowa. Cheney was among a number of people interviewed by police in the disappearance last summer of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts from her hometown of Brooklyn. Her body was later found in a cornfield, and former farmhand Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been charged with first-degree murder in her stabbing death.

Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Kriegel says Cheney was sent to an Iowa City hospital with burns and was conscious when first responders reached him. He is expected to survive.

Kriegel says Cheney told firefighters he was trying to light a space heater when the home exploded. Investigators believe gas had filled the house.

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