Plea deal reached in deadly Salem house explosion case

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. – A Washington County man accused of tampering with a propane line before the Salem house explosion that killed six people has accepted a guilty plea Thursday.

34-year-old Steven McComsey is expected to be sentenced to from 1 to 3 years in prison after the criminally negligent homicide plea Thursday in Washington County Court. He had been facing six counts of second-degree manslaughter.

Under the terms of the deal with Washington County prosecutors, McComsey did not admit wrongdoing, but acknowledged strong evidence that he acted recklessly.

The explosion destroyed McComsey's Salem home in July 2011, killing his girlfriend, the girlfriend's son and 2-month-old granddaughter, the baby's father, McComsey's nephew and a woman visitor.

There were 11 people total, including McComsey, in the house at the time of the explosion. He was arrested more than one year after the explosion.

On Thursday, the victims' families say they were disappointed by the deal, but it will help the move past this.

Investigators said a spark from a water pump switch ignited propane that had leaked and accumulated in the cellar.

His sentencing is scheduled for December 13.

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