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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Smoke inhalation ruled in deaths

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  • - A couple who died after a house explosion survived the blast but succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by smoke inhalation, Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell said Tuesday.
    The deaths were ruled accidental after autopsies and forensic examinations were performed by a medical examiner.
    Howell said it was one of the most traumatic cases he's dealt with while in office.
    Frank and Carol Kay, 75 and 69, respectively, were trapped under the rubble after their house exploded shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday.
    It was unclear how long they lived after the explosion.
    "The explosion appeared to be caused by propane gas" and further investigation is pending, state police said.
    The house was at River Road, on the banks of the Delaware River across from Callicoon.
    The explosion blew the roof off the two-story structure into the river and rattled neighboring houses.
    One neighbor several doors down said the blast knocked pictures off his walls. He also pointed out where the force bent two flag poles.
    The coroner's office was dispatched to the scene at 10:54 p.m. Sunday.
    Howell arrived at 11:52 p.m.
    At 5:43 a.m. Tuesday he pronounced the death of an "unidentified decedent" who was discovered after hours of searching through the rubble.
    The second body was discovered at 10:23 a.m.
    Deputy Coroner Mark James was also at the scene with Howell, assisting in the investigation.
    The Kays were popular in the area, running a flea market in Callicoon for over 30 years before retiring.
    Page 2 of 2 - "They were great people and they would do anything for you," said a neighbor.
    Equinunk Fire Chief John Moss said it was a difficult scene to handle.
    "It's definitely something you don't want to see," the chief said at the scene Monday, after working overnight to help uncover the bodies.
    Assisting state police, Equinunk and the coroner's officer were numerous fire companies, including from Callicoon, Lake Huntington and Hortonville.
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