NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) - The extreme heat added to the dangerous mix for firefighters at a house explosion in Niagara County. An eyewitness says one second the house was there, and the next: gone.
The explosion was so intense it lifted neighbors from their chairs or beds. A man was in the process of moving into the house when something touched off the explosion.
There was practically nothing left of the two-story house on Military Road in the town of Niagara. One woman, who didn't want her name released, was driving 50 to 100 feet away when suddenly a loud "ka-boom," and, "a large, large, large fireball, and at the same time you saw debris flying through the air and across Military Road."
A neighbor may have suffered a heart problem from the shock. Another man in a truck lost his hearing.
Toni Rychel, the mom of the injured motorist, said, "He couldn't hear. It was like a ringing in his ears, he said."
Joe Nicosia, the son of the property owner, was in the process of moving into the house. He said only the hot water heater was on and an electric dehumidifier. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms investigators were on the scene.
Town of Niagara Police Chief James Suitor said, "We don't know the cause, and that's why we enlisted their expertise."
Neighbors were going about their daily business. Some say they were actually thrown from their seats.
Businessman Rich Halleen said, "A loud explosion blew me right off of my stool and I thought something happened in our shop."
"As I was sitting in my chair, I was actually lifted from my chair. So I went running, looking for the action. I didn't see nothing but a lot of vehicles coming down my street," said neighbor, Molly Lewis.
Neighbor Samantha Rew said, "I was actually sleeping and then, all of a sudden, I hear a big "boom" and, it wasn't a foot or anything, but I was actually lifted off my seat."
Chief Suitor said luckily no one was killed. There are a lot of apartments and children in the area. He said there is no immediate identifiable cause, but investigators are concentrating on the basement area of that home.
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