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Child Dead as Gas Explosion Destroys Horseheads Home

A young child has died in what is believed to be a natural gas explosion at 198 Joseph Street in Horseheads at about 9:15AM Wednesday morning.
Marvin “Butch” Hollister and his granddaughter, 17-year-old Samantha Stratton suffered burns.
Stratton’s 15-month-old son, Benjamin Reed, died in the explosion. His body was found at about 8:15 Wednesday evening.
The injured were transferred by helicopter to Strong Hospital in Rochester for treatment at their Burn Unit.
The injuries are not believed life threatening.
Hollister’s wife Lisa left the home earlier for her job in Ithaca. Stratton was home for Regent’s Week; she had no exams scheduled.
A neighbor reportedly called NYSEG at 1AM after noticing an overpowering smell of gas in the neighborhood.
NYSEG responded by 1:30, but apparently left the area without finding a problem. NYSEG has not issued a statement on the explosion as of 7AM Thursday.
Investigators are working to determine the exact cause.
This is the second gas explosion in the neighborhood in five years.
The fire was behind the Grand Central Plaza, which houses the local K-Mart, just off Route 17.

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