Canisteo, NY- CANISTEO – Fire investigators have determined a propane leak caused the Dec. 12 explosion that claimed the lives of two Canisteo men.

The detonation killed Clinton Snyder and his son-in-law and neighbor, Daniel Blake, as the two worked on a furnace in Snyder’s basement. The men did not know that propane gas had pooled in the lower level, according to Steuben County Office of Emergency Services Director Mike Sprague.

“It was a propane leak in the garage,” he said. “At some point, the propane leak spread into the basement. Timing is everything, unfortunately.”

Sprague said the garage was about 2 feet below the entrance to the cellar.

“Propane goes to a lower level,” Sprague said. “It pooled there until it filled up enough and leaked over into the cellar.”

The two men were working on lighting a furnace in the 5015 Bush Hill Road basement when the home exploded, blowing the roof off the house, hurling the metal garage door off and across the road and instantly engulfing the ranch-style house in flames.

Investigators took measurements from two intact propane tanks next to the house the day after the explosion. Although smell is added to propane to prevent such occurrences, the gas’ density may have prevented Snyder and Blake from heeding it.

“They may not even have smelled it,” he said. “It was below them.”

Blake is survived by his wife, Stacy, and four children.