Firefighters say one person is dead after an explosion leveled a house on Illinois Street on Rochester's east side.

ROCHESTER — The house on Illinois Street that exploded Wednesday night — where one person was found dead — was sold at an auction exactly one week before it blew up, and Daily Messenger news partner News 10NBC tracked down the family that put thousands of dollars down to get it.

Monroe County Clerk records show this house was in foreclosure for about three years. In May that process started to wrap up and it finished with an auction last week. The homeowner owed $33,383.38.

"Everyone says, 'oh my God that's the house we just got the deposit down on,'" said buyer Sal Salafia, who co-owns his family's real estate business with Remax. "... It's pretty crazy. We really did not see that coming."

The Rochester fire chief says the Arson Task Force is investigating the fire at 64 Illinois St. — where firefighters retrieved a man's body from the basement — as suspicious. Jackson has said he believed the man died due to the blast.

“The natural gas pipe in the house had been compromised,” Fire Chief Willie Jackson said Thursday afternoon. “Basically, when you go down it’s usually in a certain configuration. It wasn’t in that configuration."

He didn’t want to elaborate as the investigation is still ongoing. The identity of the man found dead had not been released as of Thursday night.

That was apparently the cause of the strong odor of natural gas in the air on Illinois Street Wednesday night. It was so strong that a neighbor called RG&E. Crews arrived but couldn't get into the house. About an hour later it exploded.

People, even the chief himself who lives in the area, felt the explosion.

“Pretty powerful blast," said Jackson. "Obviously you could see the damage to the adjoining homes. It was felt more than a mile away from what I’ve been told."

The blast damaged the two homes on either side of this house to the point Jackson says they are not habitable. In all, 14 homes on Illinois Street have been damaged by the explosion.

As workers shored up those homes, people who live on the street and nearby were still grappling with what happened.

“All I heard was a big loud boom ... shattering glass in the kitchen. I came running downstairs," said neighbor Makayla Fountaine. “She was screaming ‘the house blew up.’ So I came outside and looked over and the house is in pieces.”

Fountaine is still trying to wrap her head around what happened just two doors away.

“It was crazy because it blew out our whole porch and our basement. I woke up this morning and I had to double-think, that really happened last night.”

In a statement to News 10NBC Thursday, RG&E wrote: "At this time the evidence strongly suggests that this was the result of actions by the occupant at the home. RG&E is confident that this was an isolated situation and that the company’s natural gas system is and remains safe and secure for all customers.”

Salafia says their winning bid at last Wednesday's foreclosure auction was $80,700. They had to put $10,000 into a deposit and they're working with a lawyer to get that money back.

"Over the last 10 years, we were calculating it this morning, we've done thousands of homes that we purchased through the foreclosure market. This is by far the strangest situation that's involved our company," Salafia said Thursday. Salafia said they normally send a letter to the homeowner explaining the foreclosure auction, offering help to move or offering the option of paying rent for a period of time. The letter to the owner of 64 Illinois St. did not arrive by yesterday.

Salafia said they never had the opportunity to meet the person who was inside the house.

The Salafias have 30 days to close the sale. The rules say the house needs to be in the same condition as it was at the time of the auction. That's why the Salafias think the law allows them to get the $10,000 deposit back.