An explosion tore through a North Carolina house, killing a 79-year-old man, officials say.
Lon Record, the only person home at the time of the blast, was airlifted to a burn center in critical condition on Wednesday, a Duplin County spokesperson told McClatchy News. Record later died.
At least 17 animals, including dogs and cats, were inside the home when it exploded, said Elizabeth Stalls, public information officer for Duplin County.
Though news outlets had previously reported that five animals died, officials now say two pets originally presumed dead were later found. Three other missing animals are believed to be alive.
In a post that didn’t directly mention the explosion, Duplin County Animal Services on Wednesday posted photos of injured animals that were getting treatment.
“Due to an unexpected tragedy at a local home in Duplin County, we have received numerous animals,” the post said, “many with medical emergencies incurred during this accident.”
Officials say Record was trying to light a cigarette when a gas leak caused the home to blow up. After the explosion, videos from WECT and WCTI show a house with exterior walls ripped off.
The damage was reported in Beulaville, a town in Eastern North Carolina roughly 60 miles north of Wilmington.