Sheriff’s deputy thankful to be alive after Vermilion house explosion: ‘Didn’t realize how close I was’

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VERMILION, Ohio-- An Erie County Sheriff deputy says he knows he is very lucky when he looks at the damage from Thursday's home explosion in Vermilion.

"I didn't realize how close I was," Deputy Jeremy Geary told the FOX 8 I-Team Monday.

Dash camera video from Geary's cruiser shows glass flying. You can hear the explosion that happened around 3:30 a.m. Jan. 31.

"House just exploded," the deputy can be heard saying on the video.

Deputies said the explosion happened after an SUV driven by 56-year-old Kenneth Karnow hit a gas meter at the home on of Jen and Tracy Haslage. The family and their two dogs were able to get out of the house in time.

Karnow fled from the scene and was arrested a few hours later. He is due in court later this week.

Geary was out of his cruiser searching for Karnow.

"I probably got about 50 to 60 feet away from the house," Geary said. "I turned over my left shoulder and I saw an orange glow come from where the gas line was and that is the last thing. I don't know if I saw it explode, all I know is I heard a very large, loud boom. I turned back and I got thrown maybe 1 to 2 feet onto the ground and landed on my knees and forearms."

Several windows on his cruiser were blown out.

Geary was taken to the hospital, but released a short time later.

"I am just so thankful no one was seriously hurt," Geary said.

He said he feels bad the Haslage family lost their home.

A fundraiser is being held Sunday from 4 to 9 at the Germans Villa in Vermilion to raise money for the family. Geary said he plans to attend.

Continuing coverage of this story here

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