Deadly House Explosion in Luzerne County

DORRANCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Two people are dead and one is injured after an early morning house explosion on Aberdeen Road in Dorrance Township.

"It sounded like a jet flying over and then a couple of seconds later, it felt like a tree hit my house and I live far away from here," said Joseph Tucker of Nuangola Fire Department.

The first blast came just after 1:30 a.m. on Friday and when rescue crews rushed to the scene, they found Nathan Hedgepeth, 20, on the lawn. He was injured and taken to the hospital but is expected to be OK.

He told state police his parents were in the home at the time of the blast, as was a pet cat Onyx.

A short time later, there was a second blast, completely leveling what was left of the house.

State police identified the victims as Ester Hedgepeth, 66, and Eugene Hedgepeth, 77.

Security camera video of that second explosion was captured by Tim Dennis who lives nearby.

Rescue workers were nearby but no one was hurt.

Linda Cuono lives next door to where it happened. Debris ended up in her yard.

"There was no house. there was no fire, but there was no house and we knew there was some type of explosion," Cuono said.

"I went down, I only got halfway and then I heard the second explosion. I didn't go any closer, I was afraid, but it's terrible. I mean I'm 76-years old and I never seen anything like that. never and when it blew, I mean half of Dorrance didn't know what was going on," said neighbor Jim Youkoski.

Crews brought in an excavator to search for the victims.

"You do what you have to do and stuff, especially when you know the people and the township and you know who it is. it's tough, you're trying to clear your emotions," said Dorrance Fire Chief Duane Seltzer.

State police continue to investigate the cause of this blast but they say with so much damage, it will take time.

"Talking to neighbors close by, a lot of the houses out here are a little secluded, but all the houses in the area within a couple of miles felt the explosion. Some people were woken up out of bed. It was very loud. Debris (was) thrown all about the area," said Trooper Anthony Petroski.

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