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Natural gas explosion rocks Schenectady neighborhood | News

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Natural gas explosion rocks Schenectady neighborhood

SCHENECTADY - A quiet Schenectady neighborhood was instantly blown into horror late Wednesday afternoon. A powerful natural gas explosion leveled one house and severely damaged two others on Avenue B on the city's north side.

As horrifying as it was, residents who experienced it say it was a miracle that no one got hurt.

The degree of destruction was beyond belief. A duplex that stood at 2164 Avenue B was obliterated by the powerful blast that rocked the entire neighborhood.

"It was loud enough that it scared me to the point where I didn't grab anything," said Sabrina Holiday-Harder, whose home on Avenue B wasn't physically affected, "I just got up and ran out my house."

When the blast caused number 2160 next door to catch fire, Dameon Myrick was at his home with his 4-year old daughter.

"I was sitting down watching tv and all I heard was a big explosion and my lights were flickering in my house."

Because firefighters had initially been called by a contractor working on a gas leak, it triggered a FULL RESPONSE which meant every piece of fire apparatus was rushed to the scene.

"There have been a number of these situations statewide where natural gas has been released by people working in buildings," said Schenectady Fire Chief Michael DellaRocco. "This is one of those cases that's a little beyond the normal circumstance."

And while firefighters battled both flames and bitter cold temperatures, Alicia Bouchard battled traffic, racing home when notified that her house was on fire and that her boyfriend and daughter were there.

"As I was driving I noticed all the flames and smoke and immediately broke down," Bouchard said. "As soon as I got over here, pretty much everything I have in the house is gone."

The only thing firefighters were able to retrieve for her was a laptop computer. Bouchard wasn't sure if her three cats made it out safely or not.

Bouchard says she'll probably stay with her parents for now. The American Red Cross was at the scene helping the fire victims.

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