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.
Crews get ready for the work of sifting through debris and searching for the cause of an explosion at a home on Noel Drive in Gates. The home was leveled last night. Miraculously no one was hurt. pic.twitter.com/cnh8PSNskh— Lynette Adams (@whec_ladams) December 10, 2020
See our previous coverage below:
Gates firefighters report owner of the house on Noel Drive that exploded in flames tonight— Charles Molineaux (@WHEC_cmolineaux) December 10, 2020
… has been found and he’s okay.
Wasn’t home at the time.
Monroe County fire investigators now trying to get to the bottom of what caused the blast that rocked this neighborhood. pic.twitter.com/w5lioIdyFI
The explosion caused the house next door to catch on fire.
Witnesses sent News10NBC pictures and videos of the incident.
On the way to the scene. Multiple emergency vehicles still headed that way. I am multiple blocks away and you can smell the smoke. pic.twitter.com/8sfBO0d5er— Charles Molineaux (@WHEC_cmolineaux) December 9, 2020
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.
Fire still raging At the remains of a house on Noel Drive in gates.— Charles Molineaux (@WHEC_cmolineaux) December 9, 2020
neighbor say the house exploded with such force it felt like “an earthquake.“ pic.twitter.com/S1vDyenDen
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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