Felton Family Displaced After Home Explodes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Felton Family Displaced After Home Explodes

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

FELTON, Del.- A Felton family is homeless after their home exploded earlier this week.

The Delaware State Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause, but believes it was caused by a gas leak.

The fire happened Tuesday afternoon along Peach Basket Road.

Scott Stump of Felton said he was driving along that road when he saw the flames.

"I said, 'Oh my gosh, that's Edie Hemphill's old house. There's a lot of historic memories there," Stump said.

Edith Hemphill was the Clerk of the Peace for Kent County for more than 25 years.
Hemphill died in 2004 at the age of 67.

Diane Kemp lives across the street from the home and also has fond memories.

"The new owner had decorated it so nice and put antiques in it just like Edie had," said Kemp.

Fire investigators say the fire was caused by a gas leak. It took nearly two hours for firefighters to put out the blaze. Investigators say an explosion happened inside the home. That explosion then lit the house on fire, causing it to collapse.       

According to Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Scott Bullock, the home accumulated enough gas that when the explosion happened, it blew the victim off the steps he was on, and blew out the first floor walls.

Investigators also say they are ruling out any criminal activity.    

Folks like Kemp and Stump say they'll hold on to their memories, although the house is gone.

Kemp says she has childhood memories of various events Hemphill had inside the home.

"After one 4th of July celebration, she had a big party a the house afterwards and Vice President Joe Biden was at a couple parties at the house. It's a sad site to see that this historical monument is now burnt to the ground," said Kemp.

Stump says Hemphill performed a wedding ceremony for he and his wife.

"She actually married me the first time, so that was a big memory for me," said Stump.

The family who lived in the home were too emotional to speak with WBOC, but they did say some of their pets died in that fire.

Investigators say the homeowners are currently staying with nearby relatives.

Damage to the home is estimated at more than $100,000.


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