Explosion levels York County home

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No one was injured when a suspected gas explosion leveled a York County house early Thursday because the family of five who lived there was not home.

Lower Windsor Township Police Chief Tim Caldwell said the blast destroyed the two-story house in the 100 block of Calvary Church Road shortly before 5 a.m.

“The house was just gone,” Caldwell said. “It left just a hole in the ground.”

The cause is still unknown, but the police chief said it is highly likely the blast which scattered debris for more than a hundred yards originated in an underground propane gas tank.

“The probability is very high at this time,” Caldwell said. “There is no other indication of other material that would cause that much of an explosion.”

Dr. Jonathan Gish, his wife Karen and three children lived in the home overlooking the Susquehanna River and were on vacation.

“It was more than just good fortune here,” Caldwell said. “I think there was divine intervention to make sure nobody was in that house. Had there been, they would have instantly died.”

“It sounded like a cannon going off,” neighbor Carol Lentz said of the explosion. “We were at the end of the driveway and we heard a boom, and we just looked at each other and said, ‘What was that?’ By that time, my daughter-in-law texted me asking about the noise, and then she said, ‘It’s the Gish’s. It’s on fire.’ “

“What an awful feeling to not know if your friends are at the house,” she said.

Damage is estimated at $750,000. The family has plans to stay with relatives.

“Karen pulled in my driveway today,” Lentz said. “I went over to hug her and I said, ‘Karen, I’ve never been so glad to see you.’ It’s just a wonderful feeling to know they are OK.”

The family’s dog was found with a bad cut to his ear. Neighbors took it to an animal hospital for treatment.


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