Rochester, NY – By Aaron Sanborn, Democrat Staff Writer
A family of three generations and their pets are safe after a possible gas explosion rocked their two-story home at 17 Academy St. Wednesday afternoon, knocking the rear apartment off its foundation.
None of the residents were home when the explosion hit the back apartment shortly after 1:30 p.m. However, three construction workers were putting up siding toward the rear of the residence and two of the three suffered some minor bruises in the blast.
“We were putting some insulation up and it just went,” said Ron O’Connell. “It blew us both back 15 feet.”
O’Connell said he only saw a small flame and a little bit of smoke during the explosion.
According to one neighbor the explosion shook the whole street.
Most of the two-story home, which includes three apartments all belonging to one family, escaped serious damage. The rear townhouse apartment was a different story. The walls buckled, windows and doors shattered and the structure was slightly knocked off its foundation. Fire Chief Norm Sanborn Jr. said the entire rear apartment is structurally unsound and will eventually have to be torn down.
When firefighters arrived at the home they found light smoke and smoldering insulation, according to Sanborn. Firefighters quickly began searching the home to make sure no one was inside and were able to remove two cats and one small dog, who were all away from the site of the explosion and uninjured.
Sanborn said the search of the building revealed no clues as to what caused the blast and officials continue to investigate.
“We surmise that it was a gas explosion, but we have no cause or indication at this point,” he said.
Two Irving propane tanks were attached to the rear of the house and officials from Irving were called to the home to assist firefighters and detectives from the police department with the investigation.