Updated 07/14/2011 06:23 AM
Five fatalities confirmed in Salem house explosion
The death toll has risen in a tragic home explosion in Salem. The family tells us a total of five people have died, with more victims still fighting to survive. Innae Park has the latest.
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SALEM, N.Y. -- An explosion ripped through a home Wednesday near the intersection of Routes 22 and 29, killing five people.
Resident Steven McComsey said he arrived at the house to see smoke and the smell of propane.
McComsey described the situation, saying, "We started getting everybody out of the house, some out the back, others out the front. But by the time I got out, it was too late and the house literally exploded and then nothing. I got thrown 40 feet through the air. And bodies everywhere."
Three people were pronounced at the scene, including McComsey's fiancé.
His voice cracked, as he admitted, "They had me...I had to go around and ID all the people."
Eight others were flown to local hospitals, with a number of them not surviving their injuries.
As for the survivors, McComsey said, "They just lost everything. Family, material objects, everything."
The cause of the tragedy is still being determined. However, the victims' family is now conducting an investigation of their own. They tell YNN they have hired a lawyer to look into this fatal incident, and ultimately, hold someone accountable.
"Our investigation of the whole entire incident will be the first step, which we'll start immediately. Following the investigation, we'll sit down with the family and discuss the findings. The step after that will be filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties," attorney Dan Dagostino said. "It's about holding a person accountable and responsible for what's occurred here."
In the meantime, the family is grateful for those who helped lead people to safety, move the injured, taking on the burden of saving a neighbor's life.
McComsey said, "I just want to thank all the people who helped. Especially all the innocent bystanders who stopped to lend a hand and people who actually do care and want to help out."
You can also help them financially. If you would like to donate to the family, contact Glens Falls National Bank to contribute to the fund in Tabatha Millington's name.