Explosion kills girl, levels home in N.Y. town
Emergency personnel work the scene around a house after an explosion July 24, 2012, in Wilson, N.Y. / AP Photo
Updated at 11:31 a.m. ET
(CBS/AP) WILSON, N.Y. - An early morning blast leveled a house in western New York on Tuesday, killing a girl and injuring her parents and two siblings, authorities said.
Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti said the blast occurred around 6 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the rural town of Wilson, on Lake Ontario about 30 miles north of Buffalo. The home used propane tanks but the cause of the explosion wasn't known yet, authorities said.
Sarah Johnson's body was found in the debris at the rear of the home, Filicetti said. Authorities weren't sure of her age but believe she was between 12 and 14.
Filicetti said her parents and two siblings were blown clear and were found in the front yard by the first deputy to arrive on the scene. All four were being treated for serious injuries, he said.
Jody Johnson and Judith Johnson were in stable condition at a Buffalo hospital, CBS Buffalo affiliate WIVB-TV reports. Officials said Katie Johnson was in critical condition at the same hospital and Miles Johnson was being transferred there from another hospital late Tuesday morning.
Two other children weren't home at the time of the blast, which Filicetti said could be felt at the sheriff's communications center about four miles away.
About 100 emergency personnel were on the scene of the blast, WIVB-TV reports.
The explosion occurred on a sparsely developed stretch of rural road. Neighbor Nate Reynolds, 22, said he was sleeping when a loud noise woke him up. At first he thought it was thunder, but then soon began getting text messages from friends saying there was an explosion nearby.
"It's sounded like a sonic boom," said Reynolds, who lives about 100 yards from the explosion scene. "It shook my whole house."
Other neighbors said they heard and felt the blast, then saw a ball of flame rise over the house. Scores of firefighters from several local volunteer companies put out the blaze.
The force of the blast sent debris flying over a wide area. Yellow wall insulation and a soccer poster could be seen on neighboring lawns. A basketball backboard and hoop mounted on a black pole stood out against the pile of smoldering rubble where the house stood.
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