West Lampeter Township, PA- By Cris Foehlinger, Sunday News
Miguel Boyer walked up his West Lampeter Township cul-de-sac in disbelief Saturday afternoon.
After surviving an explosion that ripped through his house that morning, Boyer muttered to firefighters, look at my front door.
The front door was blown across the cul-de-sac from the house at 39 Apple Blossom Drive in the Apple Croft development.
Boyer and his wife, Marily Rivera, their three teenaged children and a niece were sleeping at 8 a.m. when their house exploded, causing the second floor to collapse into the first.
Hours later, after being treated at Lancaster General Hospital, the visibly shaken family did not wish to comment as they visited their ruined home.
State police fire marshals assisted UGI officials and firefighters in trying to determine the cause of the explosion that shook the neighborhood that sits just off Lampeter Road near Route 741.
Electricity and gas were cut off to the neighborhood while investigators checked for external leaks.
The Boyer family was rescued by neighbors, two of whom are firefighters.
A car in the garage appeared to be keeping one end of the house up. The front of a car in the driveway was crushed under the house.
UGI workers were up to their elbows digging in the mud to uncover the gas lines.
Conrad Gast, an off-duty Lancaster city firefighter, rushed to the aid of his neighbors after the 8 a.m. explosion.
Gast said he was sitting in his living room with his wife when they heard a boom and ran outside to watch their neighbors front door skate across their cul-de-sac like a Frisbee.
I smelled gas as soon as I stepped on my porch, he said.
Capt. Sean Alexander, of the Lampeter Fire Co., said the six people inside the home were on the second floor when the explosion hit. They were helped out of the windows and only received minor cuts and bruises, he said.
The house will be dismantled so investigators can determine the cause. Alexander said the investigation could take days or weeks.
Gast said any spark in the house could have ignited natural gas. He explained that while the homes there have no pilot lights, a water heater kicking on, a light switch being turned on, or even a telephone ringing could could cause a spark and an explosion.
Trooper Brian Herr, state police fire marshal, also explained that an explosion is a fire, but the force of the explosion can put the flames out.
Sometimes you will have a fire, but thankfully, this time we did not, he said, adding that he hasnt seen the basement of the home so he cant say for sure whether there was a fire for a short time or not.
At this point, we are looking at natural gas as the cause, said Trooper Tom James DeWalt, state police fire marshal.