NORTH BELLE VERNON, Pa. - A man and his dog were injured Monday afternoon after an explosion ignited a house with detached garage on fire in North Belle Vernon, police said.
Firefighters from Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington counties responded to the 800 block of Hill Street just before 3 p.m. for the report of an explosion and house fire.
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Police confirmed that the 63-year-old homeowner, David Lenart, was badly burned and flown from the scene to Allegheny General Hospital. He was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon.
Officers said the man’s dog was also hurt and suffered burns of 50 percent of its body.
Greg Zelanko, who was outside at the time of the explosion, said he ran to help the homeowner.
“Yeah, it was just instinct,” he said. “It was the first thing I thought: ‘God, what happened?'"
Tom Amati, a friend of the homeowner, said the man was on the ground in pain.
"When I walked over he said,’ Tommy, Tommy, help me,’” Amati said. “But his face was burned up, all the hair was burned and his arm was cut pretty good.”
Channel 11's Melanie Gillespie reported that a second home behind the one that caught fire was also heavily damaged.
Fire officials said about eight to 10 oxygen tanks were in the house at the time of the fire and were making some explosion sounds as the fire spread throughout the home. While the cause of the fire remains unknown at this time, officials said it did not appear to be suspicious.
State police are investigating.