Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ US https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Neighbors remember a couple killed in a house explosion in Bern

Neighbors remember a couple killed in a house explosion in Bern

BERN – A couple who were well known and loved in this rural community were killed after a massive explosion that leveled their home on Friday night.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple confirmed late Saturday morning that Victor and Lois Porlier, aged 83 and 72, respectively, were killed in a powerful blast that struck miles and threw a palm tree over the Hiltones as fire and investigators searched for the sheriff. answers.

Apple said early Saturday morning that based on the damage, the blast appeared to have occurred in the northwest corner of the house, either in the basement or on the first floor of 1470 Hilltop Lane in the East Bern neighborhood.

“It will be a very long search because we have 3 1

/2 floors of a house in the basement,” he said, adding that the debris field is probably 12 yards outside. “We have a very long and methodical search ahead of us; we need to search this debris field as well as the contents of the basement. ”

Lois Porlier was found in bed while the impact of the explosion, which occurred at 20:20 on Friday, resulted in Victor Porlier being injured a few yards from the apartment, Apple reported. His body was found Friday night.

“The explosion shows signs of a propane explosion, but there are several other parts that need to be considered,” Apple said earlier Saturday morning.

Located in a secluded spot along Thacher Park Road, the home was already engulfed in flames when the first responders arrived on the scene after a neighbor called authorities to report the blast, followed by heavy smoke, the sheriff’s office said. The state park was closed after the explosion.

Bern is a city of approximately 2,771 people, which is about 20 miles from the city of Albany.

Numerous fire and EMS personnel arrived on the scene, many of them working at night to put out the blaze, the sheriff’s office said.

Online ads describe the home as a three-story structure with an area of ​​5,600 square meters, located on 16 acres of land. Apple said the couple was trying to sell the property.

Kyle Fawce, who lives about five miles from the site of the blast, said he and his wife were at their home in East Bern when they felt “a thump like a falling bookshelf” and “their dogs went crazy.” They went outside to see if a tree had fallen and were met by neighbors who also felt anxious.

Bern supervisor Sean Lyons said Saturday morning that the blast had echoed in the area.

“The blast shook the whole community – there is no place in the city of Bern that no one has reported hearing last night,” Lions said.

The supervisor, who is out of town, said that shortly after the explosion, he called the head of the highway and warned him about what had just happened.

He said the city code enforcement service and the building inspector were on site Friday night.

Lions said photos of the total devastation posted on social media have ripped nerves and fueled speculation among this small community about what may have knocked down the home in a community where propane tanks are often used as a fuel source.

“I think for many in the community, people are waking up in shock this morning,” he said. “One of the biggest reasons right now is that people are very nervous about how it happened and what they are doing to protect themselves now. Has this accidental event just happened? So people are very worried about the root cause and how it will affect them and their homes. “

Neighbor Helen Lansbury Galitsky, who said she lived on Saw Mill Road, less than a mile from Porlier, said Saturday afternoon that “her whole house shook” after the blast.

She is “dumb” and something like this has happened to such good humble people.

“They were both very brilliant people,” she told Porlier. “We found them to be a very good company, they are not braggarts and this information that I am sharing with you has been learned for some time.”

Lawnsbury Galitsky, a retired teacher who also served on the school board in Bern-Knox-Westerlo, said Victor Porlier worked in campaign management and helped campaign for the late President Ronald Reagan decades ago.

“I found it interesting, one of the things about Victor is that he went to Berkeley (the University of California), was very liberal at one point and then became extremely conservative, so there was a big change in his position.” said Lonsbury Galitsky.

She said Porlier traveled a lot for one of his jobs “and I think his outlook on the world has started to change.”

The husband grows his own vegetables because of Lois Porlier’s strict biological diet, and she speaks several languages, said Lonsbury Galitsky.

She remembered how her cousin from Dublin, Ireland, who was multilingual himself, was surprised after meeting and talking to Lois that her Irish accent was “perfect”.

The couple’s sprawling property provided them with a “continuous and breathtaking view” of the Heldeberg Mountains, their neighbor said.

Still, they had recently sold off much of their holdings by auction and planned to sell the home and move south to be closer to Victor Porlier’s son, Lonsbury Galitsky said.

She and Randy Bashvinger, head of the Berne highway, said the house also has an impressive library of thousands of books, which is also mentioned in an online real estate listing for the place. She said Victor Porlier was also “extremely familiar with technology” and had written books on the Y2K phenomenon.

The real estate list shows that the 2.5-bedroom, 2-bedroom residential complex “located between lakes and parks” is 1,440 feet above sea level with rock walls, solar panels and a private pond with “over 15 acres with panoramic views to the south.” and north. “

Some of the other facilities listed included a custom mahogany staircase with vaulted ceilings and dormers, 54 raised and insulated garden beds, 5 outbuildings, including 2 Amish barns, a two-story horse barn and solar panels with battery backup and geothermal heating. cooling with Air Knight purification.

Lawnsbury Galitsky said Victor Porlier prefers solar panels and has reservations about propane tanks.

“I know Victor never liked propane, he said he would never have it, but maybe he should have had a tank for something,” she said, adding that the couple was “environmentally friendly.”

Lions said the use of propane tanks was part of everyday life in Heldeberg Hiltones, Albany County.

“Many of us in Hilltowns, myself included, have large stocks of propane tanks in our homes for delivery, so this will be a problem for many people now, making sure it’s always off and no leaks …” said.

Asked about Porlier, Lyons described Victor Porlier as “a genius and a very smart man” and said the couple are good friends with a number of people who work for the city.

Lyon, a lifelong resident of Bern who has been a supervisor for about four years, said he could not remember a tragedy of this magnitude in the city.

Bashvinger, who is also a member of the school board in Bern-Knox-Westerlo, said Victor Porlier was a regular participant in the meetings.

“He was very dedicated to the visits and just loved educating young children,” said Bashvinger, also chairman of the Albany County Republican.

He said Victor Porlier was his wife’s guardian because of her health problems.

Apple noted the extent of the devastation.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, we had a few explosions at home, but never anything to that extent,” he said.

East Bern Fire Service, Bern Fire Service, Altamont Fire Service, Westerlo Fire Service, New Salem Fire Service, Oneskethaw Fire Service, Helderberg Ambulance, Albany County Sheriff’s EMS, responded to the incident. New York State Police also cooperated in the investigation.

Mike Goodwin and Susan Mechanic contributed.


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