Elmira Home Explodes

By James Gaddis

July 22, 2010 Updated Jul 3, 2007 at 11:27 PM EDT

Police still don't know why the house at 741 Dawn Drive exploded. Neighbor Paul Johnson says he was outside and heard a hissing noise seconds before he saw the house blow up.
"That roof went, oh my, I'm just saying 30, 40 feet then it split up and a good portion if not half of it come down onto the neighbors house on the roof which set their roof on fire," said Johnson, who ran over to help. Seeing the family next door was safe, he ran around back of the burning house to discover the owner, Curt Perry, on fire. Johnson told Perry to get in a pool to put out the flames.
"Thank goodness the man got into the pool because I think him getting in the water will save his life," said neighbor Joan Pisher.
Other neighbors were forced to evacuate as a precaution.
Neighbors say their quiet neighborhood now looks like something out of a nightmare. They're still gathering on the streets comparing stories until they're allowed back in their homes.
"I thought my son fell out of bed and then I heard him holler to me 'Mom the house across the street just blew up' and I'm like, I know, I know, but I didn't know," said Ruth Krusen.
Investigators are now looking into what caused the blast.
Elmira firefighters say Curt Perry, who's 34, was last listed in critical condition at a Rochester hospital. He's said to have told firefighters he was lighting a cigarette off his stove seconds before the explosion.

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