Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

UPDATE: Neighbors See Explosion Damage

Neighbors Feel the Shock of House Explosion

UPDATE: 

CORNING (WENY)---Two men remain hospitalized after their home exploded in the City of Corning Friday morning.

Officials say 86-year-old Robert Young and his grandson, 38-year-old Paul Young, were working on plumbing in the basement of their home at 48 Wilson Street. According to officials, the men were installing a water heater which led to a natural gas leak.

Our media partner the, Star Gazette reports, the two men were airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, they are in guarded condition.

The force of the blast completely destroyed their house and damaged several houses in the area. Neighbors tell us they felt their homes shake. More than 100 police, fire and emergency responders were at the scene on Friday and fire officials say 30 homes were damaged and four homes are currently uninhabitable.

 

CORNING (WENY) --  Wendy Oppenheim was enjoying a cup of coffee this morning when she suddenly felt her house shake.

"My first thought was a gas explosion, but it seemed to just keep going on it was just so huge," she says.

Oppenheim saw her cabinets fly open, pictures shift on the wall, and one of her bedroom windows cracked.  When she put on her shoes got outside, she saw a house no longer stood at 48 Wilson Street.  Oppenheim and other neighbors rushed to the site where she says she heard screams for help.  They stood by telling people to hold on until the emergency crews arrived.

"When you're looking at a pile of rubble, and you can hear somebody's voice yelling for help and you just there with your bare hands. You know, what do you do? It's a horrible feeling," she commented while looking at the pile of rubble.

Residents across the tree-lined Corning neighborhood reached out to each other as they got the news.  Many of them checked on neighbors pets and houses as they dealt with damage at their own homes.

"Unbelievable, unbelievable, I had never seen anything like it," says Melva Wiliams, who was house-sitting for her daughter.

"This is a great neighborhood it's very sad something like this happen," says Barbara Dick, who lives two blocks over but felt the shake.

Emergency crews spent time getting insulation off people's lawns and trying their best to get the site cleared out.  Neighbors say they knew Robert Young,

Residents were still fixing shattered windows and doors Friday evening,

Nearby neighbors are hoping for good news about the explosion victims, and say they're grateful no one else was hurt.

Thank heavens nobody was in front of that house when it blew," says Oppenheim. "So I guess, we're thankful."