Investigating Cause of House Explosion in Lycoming County

LIMESTONE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Investigators now believe they know what caused a home to explode Thursday night, injuring the two people who lived there.

The home on Middle Road in Limestone Township was leveled by the explosion around 6 p.m. Thursday.

The homeowner, Mike Lupole, 63, and Jacqueline Strosser, 45,  were taken to the hospital.

Family members came back Friday morning trying to salvage some personal items from the house.

The state police fire marshal was also there. He believes propane leaking from a malfunctioning gas-fired furnace could have led to the explosion.

Less than 24 hours after this home exploded, the state police fire marshal and other emergency responders were back in Limestone Township, this time working to find out what caused the gas explosion.

"Everything wasn't adding up until we got the interview from the homeowner and the timeline of when he got the furnace and when he fired it up and everything," said Nippenose Valley Volunteer Fire Company Chief Dean Miller.

According to Chief Miller, the homeowner recently installed a new gas-fired furnace in the basement himself.

"Whether it was in the line that was feeding that furnace or in the furnace itself, that we don't know yet. We do know the gas was coming from that," said the chief.

Chief Miller believes the propane was leaking into the basement close to an oil-fired hot water heater.

Troopers tell us when Lupole went to take a shower, the spark from the hot water tank ignited the leaking propane from the furnace.

"That's what ignited the LP gas that was in the house."

Investigators tell us Strosserwas standing on the back porch and was thrown from it when the explosion happened. Lupole was in the shower. The fire chief says he was also thrown into the backyard. Neighbors had to pull him from the wreckage.

"Him being in the shower actually sheltered him from injuries. The compression came upward and it actually saved his life," said Nippenose Valley firefighter Shirley Miller.

"Moments after they saved him from the debris, the whole thing just erupted into flames," said Chief Miller. "He's very lucky to be alive. The Good Lord was looking over both of them."

Neighbors came immediately to pull them from the debris

"They were talking, too, so it wasn't like they were incoherent or anything. It was just amazing that they even survived that," said Roger Mahojosky.

"It's amazing they're alive. I'm glad they're alive. It's amazing to see a house leveled like that and you think the worst immediately," Todd Engel said.

Emergency responders tell us the Lupole has injuries to his leg. Strosser was already released from the hospital and is staying with family.