Community remembers couple killed in Berne house explosion


EAST BERNE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Investigators may have found a possible cause into the explosion that killed two elderly people last Friday in East Berne. One family friend reflects on the lasting legacy this couple left on the world.

83-year-old Victor Porlier and his 72-year-old wife Lois were a beloved couple in the Berne community. They were killed in a powerful blast that was felt miles away. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says they are leaning heavily towards a propane explosion for the likely cause.

The explosion ripped through their 5,600-square-foot home at 1470 Hilltop Lane in East Berne, N.Y. Their home was on the market, and they were looking forward to moving closer to their children.

“I pray for the family that they will get by with the memory that their father was just an incredible person who impacted so many lives nationwide. He really made a difference,” said Ryan Kent Smith, Managing Broker in Lynden Washington.

Victor was a scholar, a educator, and a lover of books. He was a college instructor in Washington State teaching economics, international relations, philosophy, critical thinking & semantics.

Ryan Kent Smith was one of Victor’s students when he was in high school.

“He tapped on so many things that I would chase the edges on. His teachings I found all of life more intriguing because of who he was as a teacher,” said Smith.

Smith says Victor was his mentor and that he truly was one of a kind.

“Victor had a passion or really a zeal for liberty he cared a lot about independent thinking, and he cared about everyone making a small impact on lives around them,” said he.

When Smith heard the tragic news, he couldn’t believe it.

“I’m sure Victor at this time not only would be sad to leave a lot of people behind, but also his beloved books and library,” said Smith.

 Smith says Victor will continue to leave an impact on his life.

“He was a role model for all of us. I think he would ask us to work on what we can do to make the world a better place,” said he.

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