DUNMORE, PA — An 86-year-old Dunmore woman died instantly Thursday morning when her home exploded and collapsed following a water main break and natural gas leak on Smith Street, state police fire marshals said.
Madlyn M. Mecca, 413 Smith St., was leaving her home shortly before 4 a.m. because police and firefighters evacuated the area, due to a heavy odor of natural gas. A neighbor, whom state police did not identify, was moments away from picking up Mrs. Mecca. Mrs. Mecca waited on her front porch for her neighbor, but natural gas had seeped into her home and some ignition source had turned on, sparking a fire and an explosion, state police said. Mrs. Mecca was killed immediately.
“She was out,” said her cousin and neighbor, Carmel Verrastro Biko. “Originally, she was out … we don’t know if she went back in the house or if she was just out there waiting for him to come.”
The fire was ruled accidental, state police said. It’s not clear what ignited the explosion, but any number of appliances could have been the culprit. A furnace, a water heater, pilot lights or any electrical appliance turning on could have done it.