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Residents Demand Answers As West Haverstraw Explosion Investigation Continues

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West Haverstraw explosion (credit: CBS 2)

West Haverstraw explosion (credit: CBS 2)

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WEST HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police in Rockland County say they’re still investigating Monday’s massive explosion that demolished part of a neighborhood in West Haverstraw. Residents continue to demand answers.

Utility workers are still trying to undo the damage to a gas main, which was punctured Monday by a subcontractor for Verizon FIOS. That incident is now under criminal investigation. The leak led to the massive explosion and, now, residents are clamoring for an arrest.

“Someone has to be accountable for this. It’s like an earthquake went through here,” Natalie Lowry said.

CBS 2’s Lou Young found the door to 52 Zariella Lane 50 yards from the hole in the ground where the townhouse used to stand. The family next door, meanwhile, came back to pick up clothing Thursday. Their place it still standing, but barely.

“My kids, my kids were here. It’s amazing. You got to appreciate more and more that the fireman did their job and by the graces of God we were saved. Everybody here was saved,” blast victim Landry Rodriguez said.

The closer you get to the site of the blast, the more apparent the power of it becomes. The contents of the house were spread to the four winds like the house itself. The fear has been palpable in the neighborhood. Some residents have refused to go back.

“My house was the next to go. They told me that. They told me I could go in now but, hell, I’m not going in until they’re outta here,” Joanna Pocchiaro said.

Fire Capt. Ken Paterson is the only victim still hospitalized, for burns on his face and hands, five broken ribs, a ruptured disc and a dislocated shoulder.

“He got banged up pretty good. He got banged up. He told us he was very sore and so forth. But he’s getting plenty of attention over there, let’s say that,” West Haverstraw Mayor John Ramundo said.

The miracle on Zariella Lane is that no was killed. The residents want assurances from the town that someone will be held accountable. A meeting was being held to discuss the issue at the West Haverstraw Village Hall Thursday night.

Who should be held accountable?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

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