‘It looked like a big flame ball’: Home explosion rocks Gates, New York, neighborhood

Victoria E. Freile
 
| Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Police and firefighters in New York were on scene of a fire late Wednesday following a house explosion in the town of Gates, outside of Rochester.

The fire was reported shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Video of the blaze posted on social media showed an explosion and flames surpassing a nearby two-story house.

Gates Police Lt. Robert Long said the homeowner was not at home at the time of the explosion. No injuries or causalities have been reported. 

There was no immediate danger to neighbors or the community, said Capt. Brian Gebo of the Ridge Road Fire District.

The fire spread to two adjacent houses, Gebo said. Those fires were under control, though the garage of one home was destroyed. It took about 45 minutes to control the blaze.

Gebo said it remained unclear what sparked the explosion, and if anyone was home at that time.

“It looked like a big flame ball,” he said. 

“The house is no longer standing,” Gebo said, adding that the explosion created a large debris field. Gas and electricity were turned off at the house, he said.

Neighbors reported on social media that they felt vibrations at the time of the explosion.

Vicki Shrontz of Gates said she was in her basement when she saw a flash through the window and heard a boom on Wednesday evening.

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Eyewitness to Gates house explosion: ‘The house was just an inferno’

Vicki Shrontz of Gates said she was in her basement when she saw a flash through the window and heard a boom on Wednesday evening.

“It was the biggest, loudest boom that you’ve ever heard in your life,” she said. “I came outside and the house was just an inferno … terrible … like a gas explosion or something. Its just unbelievable.”

Several residents of nearby homes were evacuated, and firefighters asked motorists to avoid the area.

More than 120 firefighters from 30 different fire departments were at the scene, Gebo added. Gates police and firefighters were investigating the incident

Follow reporter Victoria Freile on Twitter @vfreile.