Image: Landlords David and Linda Baldwin embrace
Don Lehman  /  AP
Landlords David and Linda Baldwin embrace amid the debris of their rental home after it exploded on Route 29, west of the intersection with Route 22, Wednesday, in Salem, N.Y. An explosion leveled a two-family home in upstate New York, blowing debris hundreds of feet and killing three people, police said. Eight others were injured, including a baby.
msnbc.com news services
updated 7/13/2011 7:49:35 PM ET 2011-07-13T23:49:35

Three people were killed Wednesday when an explosion in upstate New York destroyed a home in a blast that a witness said could be felt up to a mile away.

The explosion occurred shortly after noon in the tiny community of Salem, located about 40 miles northeast of the state capital of Albany.

WNYT’s news partners at The Post-Star spoke with state police who say that in addition to the three deaths, eight others were injured, several of them seriously. Multiple ambulances and helicopters were called to the area to transport victims to hospitals.

According to authorities who spoke with The Post-Star, among the dead is an 18-year-old woman from Hudson Falls, a man whose uncle lived in the home, and a woman who lived in the home.

One witness told NewsChannel 13 his son was renting the house and told the landlord he smelled gas. That man says he cannot find his 2-year-old grandson.

The explosion was so powerful it blew pieces of the house across the road. Another witness tells WNYT the explosion could be felt up to a mile away. The Post-Star reported that a relative of the victims said family members noticed a smell of gas before the explosion. State police said they were still investigating but that the explosion was likely due to a gas leak.

Neighbors told The Post-Star that a family of five lived in the home and that there were people visiting. 

© 2013 msnbc.com

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