Man killed in Moore Township home explosion identified; bandmate says they’re in shockFeb 15th, 2014 | By admin | Category: Natural Gas Explosions
By Lynn Ondrusek
February 15, 2014
An explosion that shook Moore Township and destroyed a mobile home also killed one man, authorities say.
William D. Neith Sr., 65, was killed in the explosion late Friday night, said Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek. Lysek was called to the scene about 3 a.m. today.
Neiths death was caused by blunt force trauma and the manner will be released pending completion of an investigation, Lysek said. Neith lived at the home, 118 Hickory Hills Drive, with his girlfriend and homeowner Hilda Parsons, said his half-brother, who visited the site this morning. Moore Township police said the investigation is ongoing and had no new information today. On Friday night, police said they believed a gas explosion was to blame.
UGI Utilities spokesman Joe Swope said today the home was not serviced by the company and used propane as an energy source. The spot where the home sat was covered in fresh snow today with its remnants splayed around the property and in neighboring yards. Personal items were hanging from nearby trees, more than 20 feet in the air. Bill Neith was a perfectionist who didn’t give up, according to his band mate Tony Sporta. Sporta and Neith make up half of a four-man band, Banned from the Ranch, an acoustic country band that played local bars. During breaks between sets, Neith would talk to fans of the band, he said.
Sporta, the bassist of the band, said that the band is in shock that Neith is dead. “It seems surreal,” he said. “Accepting it is kind of difficult. It’s like it’s make-believe.” William Neith William D. Neith Sr., 65, was killed in a home explosion Friday night, authorities say. “Wild Bill” Neith, a lifelong drummer, was always tender and understanding, Sporta said. Sporta said Neith and he had a good chemistry while playing with the band and in life, playing together since the 1970s. They have been playing with Banned from the Ranch since 2006, he said. “Bill wasn’t the type of guy to say ‘Screw it,’” Sporta said. “We’re going to need a little time, but I imagine we’ll go on. It’s what he would’ve wanted.”
In the late 1970s, Neith headed out to California to try to make it in the music industry. He came back to the Lehigh Valley in the mid-1990s. Jim Neith, Bill’s half-brother, said Bill was a man who enjoyed life, following in his father’s footsteps, playing drums. About 10 year ago, Bill battled lung cancer, and beat it, losing a lung in the process. Two years ago, he battled pneumonia while still playing gigs. The last time Jim Neith had a chance to speak extensively with his half-brother was the day after Christmas. “He was thinking about getting another motorcycle and go riding with me,” Jim said.
Jim Neith said Parsons was surrounded by friends and family today. The band is waiting for news from Parsons or Neith’s family at this point. “He was a very personable guy,” Sporta said. “Everyone liked him.” Neighbors say they didn’t really know Bill Neith, just that he drove an orange Chevy HHR, which sat in the driveway Friday night. Neighbor Brittany DeJesus said Parsons and Neith kept to themselves. Sparta said the band will probably go on but for now, the band has canceled shows scheduled for February and March, according to its Facebook page.