A natural gas explosion triggered a fire that destroyed a home and injured
three people, fire officials said.
The explosion occurred about 3 p.m. Wednesday and blew out the windows, roof
and one side of the house, scattering glass and embers, according to Deputy Fire
Chief Donald Converse.
John Smothers, his daughter, Sandy Allemann, and her son, Schane Conner, were
home at the time. They escaped from the fiery house but were taken by ambulance
to Rome Memorial Hospital, Fire Chief Roger Sabia said.
Smothers suffered burns to 25 percent of his body and was in serious
condition Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said. Allemann and her son were
treated and released. Ages of the three were not available.
Investigators were still trying to pinpoint the cause of the explosion, which
forced the evacuation of a house next door after it was scorched by flames.
“It just blew up,” Gordon Owens told The Observer-Dispatch of Utica. “It kept
exploding and then the whole inside of the house went up in flames at the same
Sabia said a leak near a gas dryer was suspected.