‘Looks Like A War Zone’: House Explosion Kills 5, Injures Several Others

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Five people were killed and several more injured Saturday after a house explosion in Pennsylvania destroyed three buildings and damaged a dozen others, officials say.

At approximately 10:23 a.m., Allegheny County officials were alerted to a house explosion that had set fire to multiple other homes in the area. The scope of the damage and the fire required the assistance of 18 different fire departments and officials from both Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. Crews worked to not only extinguish the flames and rescue victims but to secure nearby gas lines.

“First responders from the police and fire department arrived on scene and reported that there were people trapped under debris and that it appeared as if one house had exploded, and two others were engulfed in fire. Multiple other homes were damaged with windows blown out,” Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs stated, according to WTAE News.

Emergency responders identified that five people were unaccounted for and began rescue efforts once the scene was secured. Officials found and recovered five bodies from the scene. Though the victims have not yet been identified, officials have stated they include four adults and one adolescent. (RELATED: Massive House Explosion Kills 3 People, Damages Dozens Of Homes)

Video footage captured from a doorbell camera shows a massive fireball erupting, sending debris in all directions in an otherwise serene neighborhood.

“I’ve been to six house explosions in Plum, and this is the worst I’ve seen in 47 years or 48 years, the worst one, just the amount of damage,” James Sims, chief of the Holiday Park Volunteer Fire Department and emergency management coordinator for Plum, told WTAE news.

Rafal Kolankowski, a neighbor, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the power of the explosion broke the windows of his home and knocked him and his wife to the ground.

“It’s just tragic, I mean, it looks like a war zone — it looks like a bomb hit our neighborhood and it’s just unfortunate,” Kolankowski stated, adding that nails, debris and glass everywhere.

“I was just with some of the neighbors yesterday, right, and now this happens. The houses can be fixed. But when you lose a life like this, obviously it’s tragic,” he continued.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

“Our crews continue to work and coordinate with the Allegheny County Fire Marshal, who is leading the investigation. As a precaution, we shut off gas service to about 50 neighborhood homes. We will continue to update our customers on when we believe gas will be restored,” a representative from Peoples, the natural gas company, stated, according to the Post-Gazette.