Crews investigating house explosion in Gates |

Crews investigating house explosion in Gates

Updated: December 10, 2020 03:20 PM
Created: December 09, 2020 06:52 PM

GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — Fire crews are looking into what caused a Wednesday night home explosion in Gates.

It happened on Noel Drive near Lyell Road.

The homeowner was not home at the time and was later found safe.

See our previous coverage below:

The explosion caused the house next door to catch on fire.

Witnesses sent News10NBC pictures and videos of the incident.

When News10NBC crews arrived at the scene at around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, the house next door to the one that exploded was still on fire. It was a four-alarm fire. Neighbors reported towering flames, some told us it looked like a fireball.

Ultimately, 30 fire companies from more than 10 districts, about 150 firefighters, worked on this fire. But, there was very little left of the house as fire crews dealt with the flames and worked to save two nearby houses also set on fire by the explosion.

The residents of the houses were able to get out safely with the help of an off-duty Gates firefighter.

Neighbor Dr. Evan Montayne told News10NBC what the explosion felt like from his house.

"It felt like somebody had hit my house with a car," he said. "I ran out, didn't see anything in the front yard, came back, and saw that the whole backyard essentially of my neighbor was just on fire."

Firefighters got the fire under control, and no injuries to firefighters were reported.

Watch Capt. Brian Gebo's full update in the video player below (mobile users, click here):

Crews are completing an "extensive" search through the debris. 

"Large, large debris field," Gebo said. "The house is no longer standing, so that's what's taking so long, to search that debris field." 

In the early hours after the fire, investigators started looking for clues about anybody who might've been inside, and the police started their search for answers.

"That's a big, working, scene right now," Lt. Robert Long said. "We're trying to wait for firefighters to even deem the house safe. We'll let the professionals handle that, and then we'll work from there." 

Even with the force of the explosion, and the damage to the nearby homes, everybody in the houses nearby got out safely.

Firefighters said they kept hoping to hear the police tell them that anyone in that house might've been out getting groceries or something, as they looked through the smoldering wreckage.

"For us, obviously it's the victims," Gebo said. "Make sure there's nobody,  and then the cause is downstream."

At around 10 p.m., firefighters said the homeowner was found to have not been at home at the time of the explosion.

They are still working to determine the cause of the explosion.

Watch the video in the player below to see the house next door burning (mobile users, click here):

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