TOWN OF WILSON, N.Y. (WKBW) Investigators are confident that a fatal house explosion, that took the life of 14-year old Sarah Johnson, was caused by leaking propane.
The explosion completely leveled the family's 2-story house on Chestnut Road in Wilson, killing the teenage girl, and sending four other family members to the hospital.
A statement from NOCO President James Newman offered "deepest sympathies" to the Johnson family, but it also said that the NOCO propane tank had been disconnected "sometime prior to the explosion."
A second propane tank was connected to the house at the time of the explosion but it was not installed by NOCO.
The following is the complete statement from NOCO:
STATEMENT BY JAMES D. NEWMAN, PRESIDENT,
TONAWANDA, NY - "On behalf of NOCO Energy Corp., I want to convey
our deepest sympathies to the Johnson family. I am personally heartbroken over
the news of the house explosion in Wilson and our thoughts and prayers are with
them. Their loss is immeasurable and as a father, I cannot imagine the enormity of
"I also want to take the opportunity to share what I have learned to date to
let you know what we know. First, NOCO has and will continue to cooperate with
the authorities as the investigation moves forward.
"The propane tank installed at the Johnson home by NOCO was not
connected to the house at the time of the explosion; the propane tank installed by
NOCO was disconnected sometime prior to the explosion. At the time of the
explosion there was another propane tank connected to the house. This second
propane tank was not a NOCO tank, nor was it installed by NOCO."
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Johnson family."
At a Friday news conference, Niagara County investigators said they were looking at various appliances and devices in the Johnson home to see if they caused the explosion.
19-year old Katie Johnson remains critical condition at the Erie County Medical Center, and according to a church blog, she is healing and is scheduled for more surgery to perform skin grafts.
A public memorial service is scheduled for this Saturday to remember the life of Sarah Johnson.
It will take place at the Wilson Soccer Fields on Young Street.
Large crowds are expected and people are asked to car-pool to the event.