Homeowners still searching for answers in Little Falls explosion

It's been five months since an explosion rocked West Main Street in Little Falls destroying three homes, and the destruction from the blast remains at the site.

LITTLE FALLS, NY-- It's been five months since an explosion rocked West Main Street in Little Falls destroying three homes, and the destruction from the blast remains at the site.

"It's been lots of ups and downs, and tears," said Shawn Devereese, standing alongside his wife Richelle Devereese.

The couple owned the home at the epicenter of the explosion that happened back in February. They are currently living with relatives along with their two young sons until they can move into a home.

"You just want to go home and we just, we can’t," he said. "So we come down here and maybe try to pick up a little bit, but then all the memories come back, it’s just tough."

The explosion was later determined to be an accidental gas leak, no one was at fault including National Grid. But much of the destruction still sits on the city's main street. 

The couple did not have homeowners insurance at the time of the incident because Richelle Devereese was ill and had to have mulitple surgeries. She could no longer work and the couple was looking for an insurance policy they could afford. The couple said they do not currently have enough money to clean up the site and they don't feel as though they should.

"We're not responsible for it, we didn't do this, we didn't asked for this," said Shawn Devereese.

The family did receive donations from the community, but they want to use the money for a new home.

"National Grid has got to step to the plate and clean this up," Richelle Devereese said.

"To make it right for us, to get our kids back into a house," said Shawn Devereese, continuing the same sentiment. "This is tough when they come down and see their toys, their fire hats and things like that. We find little Christmas ornaments laying around, it brings back so many memories to them, it's ridiculous."

Representatives with National Grid issued the following statement about the incident, "National Grid continues to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and is not standing in the efforts of the homeowners to rebuild."

Representatives would not answer direct questions concerning the company's role in removing any debris left behind.

Mayor Mark Blask said the city isn't responsible for the clean up.

"About 50 percent of the area down here has been cleaned up," Blask said. "The city's role in this, because this is private property, is to issue the permits whenever we get asked and really to coordinate with the homeowners. We know that there’s a lot going on between the homeowners and their private insurance. In a perfect world this would be totally cleaned up at this point, but realistically with such a large explosion and so many different people and entities involved, that’s why were in July it’s still not done."

Blask added that some of the homes impacted by the blast have been leveled and the debris has been removed. He said that will eventually happened with the remaining properties, but said he did not have a time-line on when the area will be completely cleaned up.

The Devereese family said they are nervous about living on the street and will not rebuild on the site of their former home.

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