Lycoming County home destroyed by fire, possible explosion

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OLD LYCOMING TOWNSHIP, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — An investigation is underway after fire crews responded to a house fire and reports of an explosion.

The fire happened in Old Lycoming Township Sunday morning.

Emergency personnel tells Eyewitness News, by the time they got to the home, just before 9 a.m. Sunday, the house was fully engulfed in fire.

Despite the loss of their home, owners Jerry and Shelly Crist say they feel blessed to be alive.

“The way it exploded, the bedroom was demolished and the kitchen… We wouldn’t have been here today,” Jerry Crist said.

Old Lycoming Township Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire and possible explosion that destroyed a home on Grininger Road.

Homeowner Jerry Crist tells Eyewitness News he and his wife had just left for church, narrowly avoiding being inside the home, when the fire broke out.

“Right after we left there was some kind of an explosion and we didn’t know anything about it until we got to church,” Crist said.

Fire officials say accelerants, like propane, that were present in the home, contributed to the intensity of the blaze. But Emergency Service Director Joseph Hopple says the totality of the wreckage will make investigating a cause more difficult.

“The house was completely consumed with fire and has since partially collapsed. That makes it unsafe for investigators to go in and actually sift through the rubble and find any small details that would normally give you what caused the fire,” Hopple said.

Despite losing everything, including two family pets, Crist says he knows they could have lost far more.

“I just feel blessed. I don’t, I just don’t know what to say. It just, I don’t know, it’s just hard,” Crist said.

The local chapter of the Red Cross has been providing aid to the Crist family and the family says their church has offered to provide them with lodging.

There was also a GoFundMe page started on behalf of the Crists by a family friend. As of Monday afternoon, that page had raised nearly $1,500.

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