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Explosion kills Great Bend man
Cause of 10th Street blast under investigation
Residential Explosion 700 block of east 10th Street-641.jpg
Damage extended beyond the residence at 705 10th St. in Great Bend which was the scene of an explosion shortly after 3 a.m. on Wednesday. One person died in the explosion. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

A Great Bend man died as the result of an explosion reported early Wednesday morning at 705 10th St. in Great Bend. Numerous people in town and in the surrounding area reported hearing the blast.

Ryan Kleweno, 48, died Wednesday afternoon at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital Burn Unit in Wichita, said his niece Nicole Kennedy. He was rushed there after first being taken to The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus.

At 3:11 a.m. Wednesday, the Great Bend Fire Department responded to the report of an explosion and possible house fire, said Great Bend Deputy Fire Chief Brent Smith. The location is a residence near the Baltzell Motel. Debris from the explosion landed on top of the motel’s roof and the surrounding area.

“Upon arrival crews found a large debris field with a structure that had been mostly destroyed and was on fire,” Smith said. Crews were able to do a quick search of the structure and removed one victim who was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

“Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire and secure the scene,” he said.  Tenth Street was closed for approximately an hour while debris was removed from the roadway.  

There was significant damage to neighboring structures and vehicles as well, he said.

The fire is being investigated by the Great Bend Fire Department and the Office of the Kansas State Fire Marshal. The cause of the fire is undetermined pending further investigation.  

The Great Bend Fire Department was assisted by the Great Bend Police Department, Great Bend Street Department, Barton County Sheriff’s Office, Ellinwood Fire Department, Ellinwood EMS, Barton County 911, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Gas Service and Wheatland Electric.