ONEIDA, NY – A 17-year-old from Oneida, New York, is now grappling with a multitude of criminal charges following an alleged theft of an SUV that culminated in a catastrophic gas explosion. The incident, which unfolded on the morning of September 9, resulted in the total annihilation of a house, as evidenced by bodycam footage disseminated by local law enforcement.
The series of events was set in motion when the purloined vehicle crashed into a dwelling on West Elm Street in the early hours of the morning, leading to a serious natural gas leak. In response, police and fire crews swiftly evacuated inhabitants of six nearby homes, while waiting for the gas to be turned off by the National Grid utility company. The building at the center of the incident exploded roughly three hours post-collision.
The explosion, captured on bodycam, sent debris flying and forced emergency personnel to seek shelter. “It was very loud…sent multiple first responders around the back of a fire truck for safety while debris was falling from the sky,” Sgt. Mike Burgess explained at a press briefing. Adjacent buildings also sustained considerable damage, as per a statement from a chief of the Oneida City Fire Department.
As news of the incident spread, a crowd gathered, leading the police to ask the public to stay away. They appealed to people’s empathy, asking them to respect the victims who were dealing with the aftermath. Miraculously, no injuries were reported among the residents or the emergency crews. Aid was provided to the displaced residents by the Red Cross and other organizations.
The adolescent at the heart of the incident was officially charged on September 21. Post-arrest and processing, he was brought before the Madison County Court’s Youth Part for arraignment. He was subsequently released to the custody of an adult, with certain stipulations in place.