Almost a day after the house explosion on Covington Road, crews tore down a neighbor’s home significantly damaged by the fire.
Thursday night, Buffalo Police say 73-year-old Santo Coke blew up his house in an attempt to commit suicide. Investigators say Coke disconnected the gas meter inside his house and lit a candle. Because natural gas goes upward and not out, investigators told News 4 Coke was able to walk away unharmed since he was in the basement of his home.
“My husband and I were just getting ready to you know, relax and watch a movie and then we heard a big boom, I mean one big boom. The side of the house just blew out and he (Coke) walked out of the house and thank god,” said a Covington Rd neighbor, Margot Keysor.
Two homes on either side of the explosion were badly damaged.
Neighbors helped all afternoon as one family tried to salvage whatever they could before crews demolished their home.
“We don’t just help each other in the bad, we help each other in the good and now we’re helping as much as we can. We’re hoping the good times are going to come from it and we’re supporting each other,” said Keysor.
Coke is still undergoing evaluation at ECMC. Sources told News 4 Coke was recently released for an extended stay from the hospital’s psychiatric unit.
Coke was arraigned in the hospital and is charged with three counts of arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
“We all knew, the whole neighborhood knows he has mental concerns, but I never deemed him to be a threat to the neighborhood, he kept to himself,” said Keysor.
To donate to the families affected by the house explosion, a crowdfunding website has been created. Click here to donate.