1 person killed in house explosion; cause unknown

July 20, 2021 GMT

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (AP) — A 92-year-old woman was killed in a house explosion Tuesday near Buffalo that damaged at least six other homes, fire officials said.

The cause of the explosion was under investigation, Lackawanna Fire Chief James Fino said.

Crews responded to reports of power outages and burning debris in the road about 7:20 a.m.

“Upon initial arrival, we had a pretty big debris field... There was some fire,” Fino said.

At mid-morning, piles of smoking wood, downed power lines and other debris filled the lot where the house stood. A mattress rested on a neighboring home’s roof.

National Grid said 544 customers lost power.

Authorities later identified the victim as the home’s occupant, Irene Sanok.

Reserve firefighter Michael Salamone, who lives across the street, said he had just walked to his front window and opened the curtains when “everything went white.”

“When the debris stopped falling and the smoke cleared, I could see the house across the street was leveled,” Salamone told The Buffalo News. “It was gone.”