A portion of the Town of Oneonta was placed under a State of Emergency after reports of a large explosion over the weekend. That State of Emergency remains in effect until further notice.

A Tragic Accident

Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin announced on Saturday, December 9th, 2023 just before 5:30 p.m. the Otsego County 911 center was inundated with calls regarding an explosion in the area of Richards Avenue in the Town of Oneonta.

As a result, the Oneonta Fire Department responded to the scene at 18 Richards Avenue with the assistance of other departments and law enforcement. Upon arrival, officials say multiple residential structures were discovered to have sustained severe damage with an active structure fire. One of the homes was completed leveled.

Devlin says once the fire was under control, first responders discovered an occupant of one of the impacted homes deceased. A resident of one of the neighboring homes was treated for minor injuries sustained during the explosion. The deceased individual was identified as 60-year-old Desmond D. Moan of Oneonta.

The Cause of the Explosion

The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, in conjunction with the Otsego County Sheriff's Office, were finally able to come to a conclusion on the cause of the explosion. Devlin says:

At this point it was a natural gas incident. The incident was caused by the resident that lived in the subject property. We have not released the sequence of events, but we have determined it was a tragic accident.

Devlin says that there are three homes that have been deemed uninhabitable and there is a three block radius that remains under a state of emergency for evaluation of further damage to structures or gas lines.

Devlin also says that this is a terrible time for people to be displaced around the holiday season and those families should be in the thoughts of everyone.

The Otsego County Office of Emergency Services in partnership with the American Red Cross are working on providing additional resources including, disaster mental health services.

There are several organizations that need to be recognized for their assistance during the response. They include the Town of Oneonta, City of Oneonta Fire Department, Otsego County Office of Emergency Services, Otsego County Special Operations Team, NYS Police, NYSEG and NYS Department of Public Services.

Incredible Photos of the Devastating HK Restaurant & Lounge Fire

On Thursday, November 30th, 2023 the Utica Fire Department was called to the HK Restaurant & Lounge for reports of heavy smoke coming from the building. The second alarm fire took hours to final get under control and the former Roger's Coffee Shop ended up being a total loss. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Gallery Credit: Andrew Derminio

Massive Charlestown Mall Fire

The old Charlestown Mall was reduced to rubble after a massive fire in the early morning hours of August 27, 2020.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

7 Things You’re Banned From Burning In Your New York Bonfire

We decided to do some research and provide some guidance. Here's 7 things thanks to Cornell Cooperative Extension Schuyler County:

Gallery Credit: Dave Wheeler

More From WIBX 950