Allegany house explosion cause still being probed


ALLEGANY, NY (WIVB) — The cause of a house explosion is still being investigated in an area of Cattaraugus County, which is most active with oil drilling.

Friends came by the dozens Tuesday to help sift through the rubble and offer support to the Volz family whose home exploded Monday morning on West Branch Road in the Town of Allegany. Even the family dog Hemi was seeming back to normal, after surviving the blast when no one else was home.

“It’s been remarkable to see Ron and Betty and their faith through this and that their house was in this shape, but they’re okay, you know, they’re sad, they’re grieving but they’re okay,” said Adam Stein, pastor of Creekside Chapel in Allegany.

The family has lived there for 35 years and heats with home heating oil and uses propane for the stove, but investigators are still not ruling out the possibility that some sort of ground gas seeping into the home could have been a factor. For the past few days, a family member reported smelling something in the basement. For about 30 days, Ronald Volz says he has smelled a sulfur smell on and off.

Cattaraugus County Emergency Services is now leading up the investigation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, (DEC) is assisting. There are thousands of oil and gas wells operating in New York State and the DEC tells News 4 that there has never been a case in New York State of a home explosion being connected to that.

But the DEC also confirms that the only two places in all of Western New York where a company is currently drilling a new oil well, are both within one mile of where the house exploded on West Branch Road.

“I mean at the end of the day, I think for the family, (the cause) doesn’t really matter,” said Stein. “It doesn’t really change the outcome and it doesn’t change what’s gonna have to happen next, so there’s a lot of things that happen in life, we can’t know for sure.”

The Allegany Fire Department says the explosion was accidental in nature.

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