Exploded house sold at auction 1 week before blast: 'We did not see that coming'

August 23, 2019 05:23 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The house on Illinois Street that exploded Wednesday night was sold at an auction exactly one week before it blew up, and News10NBC tracked down the family that put thousands of dollars down to get it. 

It took a lot of work to find the buyers. 


We went through all kinds of records with the county and learned the homeowner owed $33,383.38. 

Monroe County Clerk records show this house was in foreclosure for about three years. In May that process started to wrap up and it finished with an auction last week. 

All day we've been following the paper trail of this house, making phone calls to New York City law firms involved in the foreclosure. 

Then we went to the Rochester office of the lawyer who ran the auction. 

And then, finally, this afternoon we tracked down the buyer. 

"Everyone says oh my God that's the house we just got the deposit down on," Sal Salafia said. 

Salafia co-owns his family's real estate business with Remax. We met outside his office on Monroe Avenue in Brighton. 

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "When you learned that the house that exploded last night was the house you guys just bought..."

Sal Salafia, real estate agent: "It's pretty crazy. We really did not see that coming."

Salafia says their winning bid at last Wednesday's foreclosure auction was $80,700. They had to put $10,000 into a deposit and they're working with a lawyer to get that money back.

Salafia: "Over the last 10 years, we were calculating it this morning, we've done thousands of homes that we purchased through the foreclosure market. This is by far the strangest situation that's involved our company."

Salafia said they normally send a letter to the homeowner explaining the foreclosure auction, offering help to move or offering the option of paying rent for a period of time. The letter to the owner of 64 Illinois Street did not arrive by yesterday. 

Brean: "Did you ever have the opportunity to meet the person that was inside this house?"

Salafia: "Not in this one, no. Like I said, it's a really sad situation and unfortunately, we never got a chance to say hello and explain what was going on."

The Salafia's have 30 days to close the sale. 

The rules say the house needs to be in the same condition as it was at the time of the auction. That's why the Salafia's think the law allows them to get the $10,000 deposit back. 


Berkeley Brean

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