Arrest made in Salem home explosion

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. – An arrest has been made Thursday morning in the Salem house explosion that killed six people last summer, state police say.

Police have arrested 33-year-old Steven McComsey , of North Creek, on Thursday, who was a resident of the Route 29 Salem home that exploded on July 13, 2011.

Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright says McComsey was indicted Thursday, charged with six counts of Manslaughter 2nd-degree and two counts of Reckless Endangerment 1st-degree, all felonies.

He isn't accused of intentionally causing the explosion at the home, but authorities say he was responsible by alllegedly tampering with the propane gas line.

Investigators say a spark from a water pump switch ignited propane that had leaked and accumulated in the cellar, causing the explosion that killed six of the 11 people inside.

State police say the arrest follows a ten-month investigation including over 100 interviews. The Grand Jury heard evidence over four consecutive weeks into this explosion and investigation.

The indictment was handed up to Washington County Court Judge Kelly McKeighan and unsealed with an arrest warrant issued. McComsey was arrested at his residence without incident.

His lawyer has said McComsey did nothing wrong.

In February, the New York State Police Department announced the six death certificates issued after the explosion were amended to rule “homicide” as the cause of death.

The explosion occurred at a home located at 4372 Route 29 near the intersection at Route 22. Three people died in the explosion: 41-year-old Tammy Palmer, 19-year-old Lawrence Berg Jr., 16-year-old Robert Sanford, all whom lived in the residence. A fourth person, 19-year-old Clarissa Lyn Porlier, died after succumbing to her injuries in the hospital later that day, the fifth victim, 2-month-old Niyah Lynn Durham, died the following afternoon and the sixth victim 20-year-old Darrell Durham passed away a few days later.

Five others were left with serious injuries, including McComsey.

He has been remanded to the Washington County Jail in lieu of $75,000 cash or $250,000 bond.

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