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Couple perishes in explosion; Riverside house entirely demolished

Carol and Frank Kay pose in their store on Main Street of Callicoon, NY in the summer of 2013.
TRR photos by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
June 18, 2014

DAMASCUS TOWNSHIP, PA — The couple who owned and operated the Callicoon Flea Market for 35 years perished in an explosion that ripped apart their riverside home on River Road on the evening of June 15. The home was located in Damascus Township, just across the river from the hamlet of Callicoon, NY.

Neighbors said that immediately after the explosion the house was engulfed in flames and no one could have done anything to save Carol and Frank Kay.

Rescue workers searched through the rubble for the bodies both Sunday night and into the morning on Monday, and because the house was so close to the river, they also searched the water. They located the bodies on Monday morning and the Wayne County coroner, Edward Howell, came to identify them. He later identified the bodies and said the fire and explosion were the cause of death.

Just a half hour before the explosion, the couple had been dropped off at their home by a friend after celebrating Frank’s 75th birthday and Father’s Day in Monticello.

Barbara Donatelli, who is the bookkeeper for The River Reporter and a friend of the couple, said the blast occurred at about 10:30 p.m. and shook the neighborhood.

Donatelli said it was a gas explosion, but the specific cause was not known. Pennsylvania State Police also said the devastation appeared to be caused by a propane explosion, but they were still investigating the matter.

Neighbors stood by as rescue workers completed their work, some of them seeming a bit stunned by the grim turn of events.

Another neighbor, Rich O’Dell, said the couple was well known and well liked in the area and involved in the community, and “all around good people who will be missed.”

The state police issued this statement on June 16: “This station is investigating an explosion and fire at the above location. Neighbors reported the home exploding and catching fire at 2209HRS on 06/15/14. (2) Two individuals perished in the explosion. The home and its contents were destroyed. The explosion appeared to be caused by propane gas, further investigation pending.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police Honesdale at 570/253-7126; or the state police fire marshal unit at 570/963-3156.