SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Officials are still on the scene of a home explosion in Schenectady after it was confirmed it was caused by a natural gas leak.
The home at 310 Paige Street was a green, two story, wood-frame building. On Sunday afternoon, it was reduced to rubble after it exploded.
Officials say the explosion was caused by natural gas, but the home had been vacant for about a year. National Grid is looking into the gas leak, and said the status of the account was inactive.
Schenectady’s City Attorney confirms the city took over the home back in October 2012 as part of the Urban Renewal Program.
Meanwhile, those that live in the two neighboring homes remain displaced.
“It was bad. Very bad,” neighbor Ramon Nazrio said.
Nazrio lives next door to the explosion and hasn’t been home since the blast. His windows were blown out, and the wall was compromised.
“They sealed the window now because of the rain or something,” he said. “They don’t want the rain to go inside the house and damage the inside of the house.”
The Schenectady mayor said the incident highlight’s the city’s bigger problem of foreclosed, vacant homes. The mayor said there is not an electronic database with a list and records for vacant homes. All the information is still on paper making it harder for city officials to keep track.
The city building inspector said there are more than 800 vacant properties. He said the city does not automatically turn off power and gas to the homes if city officials believe they can sell the property if they wait.
A shutoff in the winter can damage the home and make it harder to sell, the inspector said. He said there’s not a set formula, but the city is trying to be more organized about it.
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