LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Officials in Lackawanna determined the house explosion on July 20 at 91 Bedford Ave. in the city was caused by a natural gas leak in the basement, but what ignited the explosion is still unknown.
Ninety-two-year-old Irene Sanok died in the explosion, and it caused damage to several neighboring residential properties, Lackawanna officials say.
“We continue to offer thoughts and prayers for the Sanok family during this very difficult time, as well as those families residing nearby who were displaced from their homes,” Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo said.
Iafallo goes on to thank the many agencies who worked on the scene, specifically the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, for working and completing the investigation in a timely matter.
In a press release on Monday, the mayor also recognizes the Lackawanna Department of Public Works for cleaning up Bedford Avenue and Code Enforcement Officers for assisting owners of property damaged by the explosion.
According to Iafallo, the city issued an emergency demolition order for 87 Bedford Ave., and structural evaluation continues for 97 Bedford Ave. based on a structural engineer’s review.
National Fuel released the following statement on Monday:
National Fuel has cooperated with Lackawanna Fire and Police representatives and fire investigators from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
Testing of the main and service lines on Bedford Avenue as well as soil and atmospheric evaluation showed nothing unusual and no evidence of system malfunction or leaking natural gas. This testing was done under the observation of the New York State Department of Public Service. National Fuel is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the main lines and the service lines up to the house’s meter. The house lines and connections to natural gas equipment and appliances within the home are the responsibility of each customer therefore we are unable to comment on the customer’s piping or equipment.
National Fuel continues to express its condolences to the relatives of Irene Sanok. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of tremendous loss.