Officials: Family Smelled Propane Day Before Deadly House Explosion

July 25, 2012 Updated Jul 25, 2012 at 1:04 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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July 25, 2012 Updated Jul 25, 2012 at 1:04 PM EDT

WILSON, NY (WKBW) - Hundreds packed the stands at the Wilson High School football field on Tuesday evening to pray for the Johnson family.

The family of seven lost their 14-year-old daughter Sarah, who was killed after a suspected propane explosion leveled their Chestnut Road home.

The community held a silent prayer vigil and lit candles while Sarah's soccer teammates wiped away tears and laid flowers on the field in honor of their friend.

Sarah Johnson's body was found nearly two-and-a-half hours after the explosion ripped through the two-story home at 6:08 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The impact rocked neighbors up to four miles away.

Niagara County Sheriff's Department investigators are focusing on a propane tank in the rear of the property.

The family reportedly smelled propane as late as Monday afternoon, but officials are not sure if any action was taken to investigate the odor or if any repairs were made.

"The family had noticed an odor in the residence, potentially propane.," said Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti.

"That's an angle we have to look at. We don't know what action was taken, so they're going to look at that for the cause of the explosion," Filicetti said.

Father Jodi and Mother Judith are hospitalized in stable condition at Erie County Medical Center. Older sister Katie, who officials said is severely burned, is also hospitalized along with brother Nathan, who is in good condition.

Two of the other Johnson children were not home at the time of the incident.

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