Victim in Vermilion Township house explosion: ‘We made it out with our lives’

Victim in Vermilion Township house explosion: ‘We made it out with our lives’

VERMILION TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - Jen Jackson-Haslage says that she and her husband heard a loud smash in the middle of the night that shook their Darrow Road home in Vermilion Township moments after a car crashed into the house.

Victim in Vermilion Township house explosion: ‘We made it out with our lives’

The driver, who the Erie County Sheriff's Department identified as 56-year-old Ken Karnow, took off.

“We got downstairs to find a rushing noise, which we found out was gas, so we started throwing the doors open,” says Jackson-Haslage.

Initially, Haslage, her husband and only one of her dogs were known to have made it out OK.

For close to 12 hours Jackson-Haslage, her friends, family and even the sheriff’s department - searched for the couple’s 4-month-old Cane Corso Mastiff named Vito.

“They had the helicopter going, looking for any type of heat, but they’ve stopped the search because they haven’t found anything,” said Jackson-Haslage in the early afternoon.

Vito was found a couple of hours later snuggled up against a heat vent at the Willow Creek Golf Course.

Around the same time, Ken Karnow, the man suspected of causing the explosion, was located. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office says he was found hiding in the closet of a vacant home not far from the crime scene along Route 60. He had sustained head injuries.

“I saw him in the car. My husband told the sheriff’s department, ‘There’s a man in the car. You need to help him.’ The one deputy had gone over to help him. By that time, my husband heard him struggle to get out of the car, and right about then was when the house blew up,” added Jackson-Haslage.

A sheriff's deputy was blown back by the explosion, but luckily only received minor injuries.

"We got out with our lives. It's only material. That was my one goal. The main thing I wanted to do once we got the one dog was to get the other dog back so we could all say we made it out safely," said Jackson-Haslage.

According to the Erie County Sheriff, Karnow now also faces burglary charges for breaking and entering into the vacant home where he was found hiding.

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