Schodack, NY – Kathryn Caggianelli, The Record
It sounded like a sonic boom, and then there was debris flying into the air.
That’s how one neighbor described an explosion at 900 Van Hoesen Road that killed two people and a family dog and sent a teenage girl to the hospital Sunday morning. Cause of the blast may have been a propane leak but an investigation is still under way, officials said.
Jim Delfavero was sitting on his porch at 951 Van Hoesen Road around 10:20 a.m. when he heard the explosion. Trees obscured everything but airborne pieces of wood and fiber glass insulation. Delfavero ran across the street and down a long driveway leading to the home. When he got there, he found a pile of rubble where a house had been moments earlier. Then he heard a girl’s lone cries for help.
“She was calling out. She sounded dazed. She said she couldn’t feel her legs,” Delfavero said.
He and an unnamed neighbor were the first at the scene. They tried to locate the girl and began removing debris. Smoke began to billow from the ruins and within seconds a fire ignited. Everything became too hot to touch but at least they could see her now.
“She was down in a hole where the basement had been. She looked bruised but seemed OK,” he said.
Delfavero asked the girl, named “Amore Swann,” who else was in the house. She told him her teenaged sister Jolene Hotaling and a female friend were inside.
The fire was spreading quickly and the two neighbors continued to struggle with the rubble until firefighters and police arrived.”They got here pretty quickly, but it felt like forever,” he said.
The fire was extinguished and Amore was airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital. Her condition was not known at press time.
The bodies of the other two victims and the dog were recovered a short time later. Police would not confirm their identities until relatives had been notified.
Police and firefighters determined after an investigation that the explosion was caused by a faulty propane-fueled hot water heater and there were no other victims trapped in the the rubble. Preliminary reports indicated a propane leak may have caused the explosion, Castleton Fire Chief Gibson Capparella said.