Deadly Wilson Propane Explosion One Year Later

10:54 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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The two propane tanks on the property of the house explosion in Wilson.

WILSON, NY - If not for a faded bit of crime scene tape remaining on a utility pole, or the flowers someone recently tied to a post nearby, you'd never know what happened along Chestnut Road one year ago.

The wild flowers ...blue devils and Queen Anne's lace ...now sprouting among the tall, waist high grass that hasn't been mown, provide a peaceful scene, hiding the scars of a tragedy which took place when a teenager was killed and her family's home was destroyed in propane explosion.

A source tells us the Johnson family continues to live in a house donated to them in Wilson, along the Lake Ontario shoreline, several miles from this place.

No one we attempted to contact who was closely associated with the Johnsons in the days after the tragedy, when people poured out their hearts, their wallets, and their prayers, like Pastor Bill Lowery, has returned phone calls to say anything more about how they're faring.

Their attorney, Matthew J. Beck, stated in an e-mail to WGRZ-TV,

"As you might expect, this is a very tough day for the Johnson Family and had NOCO followed industry standards for treating such circumstances as an emergency, Sarah Johnson would still be with us today. The Johnsons thank the community for their support and respect for their privacy on this tragic anniversary."

Beck represents the Johnson family in a wrongful death lawsuit, in which the Johnson's claim NOCO Energy, their propane provider, failed to properly respond when contacted by the Johnsons the day before the explosion about a potential gas leak.

NOCO''s attorney Terry Flynn also told us out of respect for the family he would make no comment on the suit today, which also involves a counter claim filed by NOCO.

It alleges that the Johnsons declined to have a technician come to their home, and that Jody Johnson -- a pipe fitter by trade--, instead tried to tackle the problem himself, by disconnecting the tank and regulator supplied by NOCO, and hooking up a tank of his own about 12 hours before the explosion occurred.

The legal case surrounding the tragedy is still in the discovery phase. Barring any prior settlement, attorneys do not expect a trial to begin until sometime next year.

The color yellow often marked memorial services and other events in the days and weeks after the tragedy, which was Sarah Johnson's favorite color.

The same color as those flowers, fastened to a pole with a yellow ribbon, which remain at the scene of her tragic death today.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bill Boyer. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com

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