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National Grid investigating cause of fatal Whitesboro home explosion

WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - National Grid spokesperson Patrick Stella says the power company is involved in the investigation into what caused the fatal home explosion in Whitesboro Saturday night.

Whitesboro Police and Fire officials are still not releasing the name of the elderly woman pulled from the rubble. The home on Ablett Avenue exploded around 8:30 Saturday night, and Whitesboro Fire Chief Duane Evans says the victim's body was found under some nearby rubble around 11:10 p.m..

The explosion blew the entire roof of the home right off, and sent debris as far as 100 yards away.

National Grid released this statement Sunday afternoon regarding the investigation: "National Grid is currently investigating the event and we can confirm that there was an incident in Whitesboro, NY yesterday evening resulting in one fatality.

"Our thoughts are with the family. We are undertaking a full assessment of this isolated incident and are cooperating fully with the local authorities who are also conducting an investigation. We or the authorities will share more information as it becomes available." The blast could be felt for miles.

Chief Evans said the explosion was felt as far as four or five miles away.

Neighbors in this Whitesboro neighborhood say the elderly woman who lives in the home was a nice woman who lived alone and kept to herself, but they did note she took immaculate care of her landscaping.

Those same neighbors also say National Grid crews were on the scene Saturday afternoon around 4:00, after residents started complaining of the smell of natural gas in the area.

National Grid spokesperson Patrick Stella said the statement released above would be the only current comment made by the company regarding the explosion.

Gail Greco lives right next door to the home that exploded and says she was in her basement when the blast took place. She had to duck because of the impact. When she went upstairs, she says there was broken glass everywhere inside her home and the blast was so powerful, a large boxed doorbell above her front door, completely blew off the wall.

Greco says her neighbor lived alone and kept to herself, and she says firefighters actually found the woman's body in her (Greco's) driveway.

Chief Evans says The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved in the investigation along with the Whitesboro Police Department and Whitesboro Fire Department.

Chief Evans says one of the key things being looked at is a new furnace that was put in the home after Tropical Storms Irene and Lee came through in late August and early September. The storms caused extensive damage to dozens of homes in this section of Whitesboro.

Evans added, "we've got to look at everything obviously. There was a furnace I believe in September put in and we just have to start from square one and go all the way through it, until we find out exactly what happened."

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