Owner of dry cleaner business that burned in an explosion charged

PAPILLION, Neb. (AP) – The owner of a dry cleaning business that burned following an explosion last year has been charged with arson and other counts.

The Sarpy County Attorney’s Office says in news release that 53-year-old Michael McKernan, owner of the Wardrobe Spa just southwest of Omaha, was also charged Tuesday with three insurance fraud counts.

If convicted, McKernan faces up to 14 years in prison. The blast and fire last October leveled the building.

Fire investigators say someone had tampered with the building’s natural gas system.

McKernan was outside trimming some bushes when the explosion occurred, but he wasn’t hurt.

His truck was parked between him and the business. It was unclear Tuesday whether McKernan had hired a lawyer.

A publicly-listed phone number for McKernan could not be found.

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