Late on Sunday night, a massive propane explosion leveled a house on River Road in the Pennsylvania town of Damascus. Across the Delaware River, on the New York side, residents of the Sullivan County hamlet of Callicoon heard the blast and saw the flames.
Sullivan County Democrat editor Frank Rizzo took some photographs from across the Delaware:
Early reports from the scene were scant on details, but the house's two occupants, an elderly couple, were missing and presumed dead. By mid-day on Monday, emergency crews had recovered their bodies from the rubble of the house.
Although police have not officially identified the couple, neighbors have told news outlets from both sides of the river that the victims were Frank and Carol Kay -- well-known names on the New York side of the river, where the pair were longtime owners of the Callicoon Flea Market.
WNEP spoke with several friends and neighbors of the Kays, including one who had been celebrating with them just hours before the blast:
It was a sad time for Andy Ray. He was with the couple who lived there just before the explosion. They were his friends, and had just returned from a fun Father’s Day and birthday celebration in Monticello.
“We all said ‘good night and I’ll see you tomorrow,’ and then the big explosion.”
In 2013, the River Reporter wrote that the Kays were shutting down the Callicoon Flea Market after 34 years of operation.
But up until their deaths, the Kays were still very much involved in Callicoon's business community. A few days before the explosion, Frank Kay stopped in for a sandwich at Callicoon's newest restaurant, Bà & Me, and struck up a conversation with owner Nhi Nguyen about the prospect of expanding her business to Main Street.
Nguyen tells the story of the encounter, in a moving post on Facebook: