UPDATE: 73-year-old Santo Coke of Buffalo has been arraigned on 3 counts of arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment after allegedly disconnecting a gas line inside his Covington Avenue home and lit a candle in attempt to destroy the house.
Coke was remanded without bail pending a forensic examination.
He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, April 25 at 2 p.m. for a counsel appearance.
ORIGINAL: Buffalo Police and Fire responded to the scene of a reported house explosion just after 7 p.m. at 36 Covington Road in North Buffalo.
Upon arrival, officials observed the residence had been completely leveled from a fire caused by the explosion.
Buffalo Fire said the flames spread to 32 and 40 Covington Rd. as well and caused extensive damage. Those people got out safely and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
The suspect at 36 Covington Rd. appears to have used gas to intentionally blow the house up in an attempt to commit suicide, according to police.
Sources tell me they believe the Covington Road house explosion is the result of natural gas from an oven. Again, no injuries. Police say it’s a miracle no one was hurt. @news4buffalo pic.twitter.com/fsIHndWBAF— Rachele Mongiovi (@4RacheleM) April 20, 2018
Police say they found the suspect standing in the road across from the leveled house. They’re currently in custody at ECMC undergoing evaluation for mental health issues the suspect suffers, according to police.
On Friday morning, police identified the suspect as 73-year-old Santo Coke. He was charged with arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
Buffalo Fire says five people were involved in total, none of which suffered injuries.
Crews are still on scene and an investigation continues.
Officials ask that people continue to avoid that area.
A crowd funding page has been started for those who have been displaced because of the fire.