WILSON, N.Y. (WIVB) - New evidence has now surfaced in the explosion that left a hole in the heart of a tight-knight community.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Johnson lost her young and promising life in a blast that leveled the home of the Johnson family in Niagara County. And her older sister was severely burned.
It appears we're getting a little closer to learning what caused the propane leak leading to the house explosion. And it starts with new information: there were two propane tanks at the home in Wilson when it blew up.
In the week since the deadly house explosion, we've shown you video of investigators looking at the NOCO Energy propane tank situated behind the rubble.
But NOCO president James Newman reveals in a statement, "The propane tank installed at the Johnson home by NOCO was not connected to the house at the time of the explosion; the propane tank installed by NOCO was disconnected sometime prior to the explosion."
NOCO representatives say there was another tank - not belonging to NOCO and not installed by NOCO.
"There's another tank that supposedly was filled with propane. And that was what was providing propane through the line the goes into the house at the time of the explosion," said NOCO lawyer Terry Flynn.
This is the tank in question. As you can see in the video, it was situated closer to the foundation of the house. It was much smaller and sat vertical instead of horizontal.
Reporter Lou Raguse asked: "Was there still propane in the NOCO tank even though it was disconnected?"
"That hasn't been shared with us yet. It's an ongoing investigation with ongoing inspections," replied Flynn.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour confirms the smaller tank was the one hooked up to the home's gas line. He says they don't know why the NOCO tank was unhooked. He says they don't know who hooked up the other tank or to whom it belonged.
Raguse asked the sheriff if he anticipates any criminal action if a company is found negligent and he said he doesn't think so, saying if that's the case it would be a civil issue.
We are told there are several different propane companies a customer can choose.
In the meantime, the Johnson family continues to move forward. They've moved into a temporary house, and Jody, Judy and Nathan have left the hospital. Eighteen-year-old Katie remains at ECMC in the burn unit and is preparing for another surgery.
In August on the 19th, family and friends are planning to hold a 5K in Sarah Johnson's memory at Clarks Park on Harbor Street in Wilson. The run will begin at 9 a.m. and follows the same path as the Salmon Run, which takes place in June. Keep an eye on WilsonFBC.org for more information.
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