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House explosion in Henrietta

House explosion in Henrietta

Henrietta, N.Y. - There are no major injuries after a house exploded Tuesday morning in Henrietta.

According to Monroe County Sheriff's deputies, a car ran into a garage at 134 Buckley Place and hit a gas line. The house then exploded.

A neighbor said the owner of the house, Eugene Upshaw, 79, was backing out of his house and hit the gas line. The man called 911, got his wife, Louise Upshaw, then got out of the house.

Crews could hear and smell the gas leaking when they arrived on scene. Moments later, the Upshaw's were standing on the street in front of the house with firefighters as the house exploded.

Smoke could be seen for miles as gas fed the fire for at least 90 minutes.

The Upshaws immediately called their son, Kerry, who was on his way to work

" I turned off, came back and could see smoke from 390 and I knew it was gone. After that, all that matters was just getting there and supporting my mom and dad," said Kerry.

Harley Dixon, who lives nearby, said the explosion shook the neighborhood.

"I was eating breakfast in my house two houses over and it sounded like the world blew up," Dixon said.

Another neighbor, Art Keeler, said the house became engulfed in flames quickly.

"I've been standing out here watching it melt away," Keeler said. "My God, it's just terrible. I can't imagine if it were my house."

Eugene told investigators that his foot slipped off the gas when he crashed into the gas meter in his garage. His car had been running for about an hour.

Henrietta Fire Chief James Comstock said the homes were built in the 1960s, a time when it was common for the gas meter to be inside the garage.

"It could have been a lot worse," Chief Comstock said. "I've been to other house explosions where 3 houses caught on fire, so all and all, today probably this is the best outcome we could have, that it was confined to one house."

Lt. Tom Hayes was one of the first firefighters on the scene.

"We right away heard the natural gas free-flowing from the garage," said Hayes.

Hayes was walking away from the home with Eugene Upshaw when the explosion happened.

"If it had gone two minutes earlier, Mr. Upshaw was standing in front of his door and this could have been a totally different situation," said Hayes. "You definitely feel it and right after that happens your heart starts racing. The adrenaline started kicking in."

Investigators spent much of Tuesday afternoon literally digging to get to the bottom of the house to determine a cause. They said they may never know the exact cause of the fire.

The Upshaws were retired; Louise worked as a postal worker and Eugene had worked at Kodak for several years.

"They've been together since high school. They built this house," said Kerry, fighting back tears.

No one suffered any major injuries. A firefighter on scene had a minor injury, and Eugene was still in the hospital Tuesday night but is expected to be all right.

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