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Three houses were destroyed by an explosion about 8 a.m. at Federal Drive and East 177th Street, near Interstate 480, and at least 12 other homes have been seriously damaged, officials said.

Fire officials evacuated the neighborhood and are still wetting down the wreckage and investigating. Eleven people were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center.

Dr. Thomas Collins, an emergency room physician at MetroHealth, said the hospital treated six adults and five children injured in the explosion. All had relatively minor injuries, including lacerations, bruises, contusions and abrasions. None suffered burns, according to Collins.

He said they were injured by falling objects or glass.

None of the victims was admitted. Several already have been released and the rest are expected to be discharged within the next couple of hours.

But rescuers were still trying to account for all the people thought to have been in the area.

The site of the blast is now a hole in the ground. The house that once stood there was vacant. Fire Chief Paul Stubbs said the blast is similar to a fire in January that investigators ruled was arson. William Calderwood is on trial this week in that case.

“This is a devastating explosion,” Stubbs said of the Federal Drive blast. “It is very similar to West 83rd Street.”

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have arrived at the scene to help investigate.

Neighbors said today that people have been going in and out of the house on Federal Drive. They also said they smelled gas in the area Tuesday. Stubbs said those reports did not come in to the fire department.

The house to the right of the blast site was leveled, with only a chimney left standing. The house to the left of the explosion was left with only one wall standing. Behind and beyond, other houses and a garage were damaged,.

More than a half-dozen cars nearby were damaged as well. The force of the explosion lifted two vehicles next to the explosion scene onto their sides, and they are still lying, charred, beside the building.

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