Oil City, PA- A mother and son from Clarion County escaped with their lives early Tuesday when an explosion ripped through their rural home in Perry Township.
Shawna Corle and her 14-year-old son, Brandon, were inside the two-story farmhouse at the time of the 5 a.m. incident.
Shawna Corle was blown out of a second story window and scrambled to find her child in the early morning darkness, according to Brad Salizzoni, the assistant Rimersburg fire chief who is also Corle’s brother.
The force of the blast ejected the boy through a front window of the home and he was found lying in the front yard.
“He suffered a compound fracture of his leg and burns under one arm. He was taken to West Penn Hospital (in Pittsburgh), but from the reports I got he is doing OK,” Salizzoni said.
Shawna Corle, who Salizzoni said escaped with scratches and a facial cut, ran to a nearby neighbor to call for help. Her husband, Russell, had left for work about a half hour before the explosion.
A pickup truck was buried under the explosion and Shawna’s father, Jack Salizzoni, arrived to take Shawna and her son to the hospital.
Salizzoni said driving to the explosion knowing it was a family member and not knowing the extent of injuries was a gut-wrenching experience.
“That’s a really long 10-minute drive down here from Rimersburg knowing it is your family’s house,” he said.
State police fire marshal Mick McCracken from the Clearfield barracks was on the scene Tuesday afternoon, and he determined that a propane leak somewhere in the basement caused the explosion.
“We just called for a backhoe to help move some of the bigger pieces to pinpoint the cause,” McCracken said.
No damage estimates were available, but sources said the completely remodeled home was insured.
The investigation will continue.
Pieces of the house were scattered thousands of feet away from the site. The home was reduced to ground level, and pieces of clothing could be seen hanging from nearby trees. The family will be able to salvage at least a few items of clothing as one dresser landed in the side yard with clothes still inside.
A mounted deer head minus antlers could be seen in the debris littering the front area of the home.
“That used to be a really nice buck,” Salizzoni said.
One family dog died in the explosion and another had not been located by mid-afternoon.
Rimersburg firefighters were assisted at the scene by Callensburg, Sligo and Parker volunteers.