Four people have died and another person is missing following a house explosion in western Pennsylvania. The explosion occurred in the borough of Plum, about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. It destroyed three structures and caused damage to several others. Three individuals were taken to hospitals, with one in critical condition and the other two treated and released. Over 20 firefighters also required evaluation, mainly due to heat exhaustion.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office will provide further information regarding the deceased individuals. Emergency operations were suspended due to weather conditions and concerns for the safety of investigators. Work is expected to resume at the site on Sunday morning.
Emergency responders reported that people were trapped under debris after one house exploded and two others caught fire. Crews from 18 fire departments worked together to extinguish the flames, with assistance from water tankers from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. The exact number of missing individuals is currently unknown, as authorities are uncertain about who was at home and who may have had visitors at the time of the explosion.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation by Plum and county law enforcement, as well as the county fire marshal’s office. The state public utilities commission and local utilities are also involved in the investigation.
Eyewitnesses shared their accounts of the incident. George Emanuele, who lives near the exploded home, and a neighbor found a man lying in the backyard before the fire spread and moved him to safety. Another resident, Rafal Kolankowski, experienced broken windows in his house and was knocked to the ground by the explosion. He encountered a woman who had been upstairs and informed him that a man was still trapped in the basement.
Residents describe the scene as resembling a war zone, with homes devastated by the explosion. Jeremy Rogers, who lives two doors down, was alerted about a problem at his house while he was shopping. He witnessed debris flying around and managed to evacuate his family safely, but their three cats remain missing.
The community is left shocked and saddened by the tragic incident. They were just with their neighbors the previous day, unaware that their neighborhood would be impacted by such devastation. The investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing, and authorities continue to work towards restoring safety and stability in the affected area.