Even for Most Experienced Law Enforcement, Taylor House Explosion Was Unlike Anything They’ve Ever Seen

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TAYLOR, Pa. -- Even for some of the most experienced law enforcement officials in our area, Thursday night’s house explosion in Taylor was unlike anything else.

Homeowner Brian Ott was flown to the Lehigh Valley Hospital from the WNEP helipad with what emergency officials said were burns covering 90% of his body.

With 31 years of experience on the force, Taylor Police Chief Stephen Derenick said he's never seen anything like it.

“It's a miracle that he is still alive. I don't know how - I really don't. The fire department did a fabulous job in locating him and getting him out,” Chief Derenick said.

Firefighters said at first, they were trying to figure out if someone was inside when the explosion occurred. Then all of a sudden, they heard a voice from under the rubble.

“He could hear the gentleman moaning and then asking for help. He alerted the other firefighters and that's when they started digging through the rubble and they found him,” Chief Derenick said.

The explosion completely leveled the house. Crews spent much of Friday cleaning it all up.

People who live nearby say it could've been much worse.

“Pandemonium in the beginning. You come outside and the front of his house is on my lawn. There were power lines down. There were two little fires burning,” neighbor Jereme Spanburgh said.

Spanburgh lives right across the street and is dealing with a few broken windows from the explosion.

He said he’s grateful the fire and police departments are only a few blocks away. Emergency crews were there within minutes.

“All I did was make it from this front porch to the backyard and I had come back and police were already here, the fire department was on top of it,” Spanburgh said.

As neighbors move forward repairing their homes after the explosion, Chief Derenick said it’s an experience that will stick with him.

“You see this on TV but you never think it's going to happen in your community. I mean this was just total devastation up there,” Chief Derenick said.

A state police fire marshal and an investigator from the Taylor Police Department are still looking into what caused the explosion.


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