August 18, 2011
SALEM, N.Y. (AP) - State police say a spark from a water pump switch apparently ignited propane that had leaked and accumulated in the cellar of a rural upstate New York home, causing an explosion that obliterated the home and killed 6 of the 11 people inside it.
Investigators said Thursday that the home in Salem, just 8 miles west of Rupert, Vt., had two 100-gallon propane tanks out back to fuel the hot-water heater and cooking stove. Investigators believe propane leaked from one of the tanks and, because propane is heavier than air, settled into the cellar.
Police said the source of the propane leak couldn't be determined because of the magnitude of the July 13 explosion. But they said the spark that ignited it came from an automatic switch on the home's water well.
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