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Man who blew up his North Buffalo house pleads guilty to arson

A North Buffalo man who blew up his own house in April has pleaded guilty to several counts of arson, the Erie County District Attorney's Office said Monday.

Authorities had charged Santo Cok with intentionally triggering a gas line explosion at his home at 36 Covington Road, a blast which destroyed his house and damaged two others. Cok, 72, pleaded guilty in Erie County Court to all the charges on which he was indicted – reckless endangerment, third-degree arson and two counts of fourth-degree arson, prosecutors said.

Cok was in the basement of his house when he disconnected a gas line and lit the gas using a candle. He survived what police described as a suicide attempt because explosion and flames traveled upward.

Cok, who remains held without bail, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 9.

Neighbor saw man whose home exploded: 'He was surrounded by fire'

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