Vermilion family escapes minutes before house explodes

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VERMILION -- The owners of a Vermilion home said their house exploded early Thursday just minutes after they escaped with their dogs.

Tracy Haslage said he was awoken by tires losing contact on the street outside his home on East Darrow Road. It was followed by the house being struck and shaken.

"We got up, grabbed our phones and went downstairs," he said. "Then we heard the high-pressure gas line and we smelled the gas in the house. We rushed to get the dogs out and opened up the doors...but unfortunately by the time we got outside...a  few minutes later the house exploded and burst into flames."

Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said it appears the home exploded after a driver struck a gas meter.  He said the driver took off after the crash.

“The deputy got there right when the house exploded,” Sigsworth told the Fox 8 I-Team. “The deputy was taken to the hospital to be checked out."

The injured deputy’s mother tells FOX 8's Jessica Dill, her son is a deputy with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. He suffered whiplash from the blast and is now resting at home.

According to the homeowners,  the deputy was trying to save the person in the car, not knowing the individual fled the scene already.

Tracy Haslage told us his dogs went missing right after the blast.

"We were all outside the house when it exploded," he said. "The explosion shook the dogs. They were not on the leash, because we had no time, and they ran off because of the sound. Here it is two hours later, and the temperatures are subzero."

One of the dogs, a brown dog, wandered into an area Holiday Inn later in the morning. The younger, gray dog was later found.

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