Wilson, NY-- One child has died and four members of the family were seriously hurt following a house explosion early Tuesday morning.
Rescue workers were called to Chestnut Road near Beebe Road just after 6 a.m. Five members of the Johnson family were inside the home at the time of the blast: the parents, Jody and Judith Johnson; their daughters Katie, 18, and Sarah, 14; and son Nathan, 16.
The four injured family members were located and treated by emergency personnel upon arrival at the scene. A further search of the wreckage revealed the body of Sarah, found dead near the back of the house.
The remaining two children -- Hannah, 16, and Sam, 10 -- had spent the night with a family friend and so they were not at home when the explosion occurred.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Katie were taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the parents were listed in stable condition, while Katie's condition was described as critical due to severe burns. Nathan was first taken to Mt. St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston and later transferred to ECMC. His status was also described as stable.
The home was nearly obliterated by the force of the explosion.
Niagara County Undersheriff Michael J. Filicetti said at a Tuesday morning press conference that it was, "a horrific scene for arriving officers."
A next-door neighbor told 2 On Your Side's Pete Gallivan that the force of the explosion was so great that it blew his basement windows out and knocked belongings off the wall. He said when he went outside he saw smoke and his neighbor's house was gone. A caller from Pendleton, more than nine miles from the scene, reportedly felt the concussion. Other witnesses say the four survivors were blown out of the house.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the explosion. Several agencies, including the A.T.F., are assisting the Niagara Sheriff's Department in their investigation.