Fire chief: House explosion on Illinois Street deemed 'suspicious'

August 22, 2019 02:47 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Investigators are searching for answers after firefighters recovered a man's body from the basement of a house that exploded.

Rochester Fire Chief Willie Jackson said the natural gas line pipe in the house on Illinois Street had been compromised, prompting fire officials to describe the explosion as "suspicious." Jackson said he believes the victim died because of the blast. 


“At this time the evidence strongly suggests that this was the result of actions by the occupant at the home," RG&E wrote in a statement to News10NBC. "RG&E is confident that this was an isolated situation and that the company’s natural gas system is and remains safe and secure for all customers.”

People in the neighborhood are trying to get back to normal after experiencing what happened at 64 Illinois St. Wednesday night. 

News10NBC received video from Steve Kasprzak who lives two streets away. He was standing across the street as firefighters began going through the debris.

"We were sitting in our house on Minnesota Street, and we felt a huge explosion," Kasprzak said. "We felt the walls and the roof shaking and ran out. Everyone on our street was running out onto the street, asking what happened."

Some of the debris scattered about the area. No one was hurt, but it did cause damage to some of the other structures in the area. The blast damaged the two homes on either side of this house to the point Jackson says they are not habitable. In all, 14 homes on Illinois Street have been damaged by the explosion.

"We're extremely lucky and fortunate that nobody was hurt when this happened," Jackson said. "These type of blasts can do damage and cause significant life-threatening injuries."

The man's identity has not yet been released.

Watch News10NBC at 5 and 6 for the latest on the investigation and more reaction to the explosion.


Lynette Adams

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