Explosion in Masonville destroys home, leaves man in critical condition

An explosion that was accidentally set off by a man attempting to light a propane water heater destroyed a Masonville home on Route 206 on Wednesday night, leaving three people injured. 

Masonville firefighters responded to a 911 call made at 9:26 pm on Wednesday, July 13, according to a press release issued by Delaware County Emergency Services. When firefighters arrived on the scene minutes later, the house was already destroyed and engulfed in flames. 

The explosion sounded "like a gunshot," and could be heard for miles, a neighbor told WBNG.

Three people were injured in the blast. Shayne Charles, 31, who was in the basement attempting to light the hot water heater, was transported by LifeNet to the burn unit at Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, where he remained in critical condition as of Thursday afternoon. According to Delaware County Emergency Services, he was rescued from the house by two passersby. 

29-year-old Kelly Vaccaro, who was outside the house at the time of the explosion, was taken by Cooperstown Medical Transport to the Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City. Kela Charles, 53, declined treatment for her injuries and remained at the scene of the explosion to speak to investigators. According to New York State Police, both Vaccaro and Kela Charles had only minor injuries. 

Firefighters from departments in four counties responded to the call for mutual aid, and brought the fire under control around 11:15 pm. An excavator was called in to move heavy debris. Investigators from Delaware County Department of Emergency Services and the Delaware County Cause and Origin Team were brought in to investigate the fire.

At the scene were firefighters from Masonville, Trout Creek, Sidney, Sidney Center, Bainbridge and Franklin, as well as ambulance units from Masonville, Trout Creek, Sidney EMS and Cooperstown Medical Transport. Firefighters from Unadilla, Walton and Deposit were on standby in nearby stations.

The cause of the fire officially remains under investigation, according to the New York State Police.