Tuesday, February 15, 2011

At least 4 dead in Pennsylvania explosion

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
House explodes in Pennsylvania New: explosion killed five people, including a 4 months old and one of 79 years OldOne else is not proven and eight houses were LostCause of the explosion is still unknown, fire chief Robert ScheirerAbout says 500 people were set up in shelters after the BlastDid see the explosion or their consequences? Share your story and pictures with CNN iReport.

Allentown, Pennsylvania (CNN)-death toll in a suspected natural gas explosion, the eight houses in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Thursday evening rose to five destroyed, authorities said. The victims include a 4-month-old and a 79-year-old.

Authorities sifted through pile of rubble in a snow-covered road.

Allentown fire chief Robert Scherer confirmed four deaths. Scott grim confirms the fifth Lehigh County Office or the examining magistrate.

"It was a difficult fire because of the weather, fight," Scherer said, noting that the icy conditions were worse than firefighters, the water in a blaze that burned the houses and play pumped for gas pipelines from the road.

"I think we do with a recovery at this point," he told CNN earlier. "From the fire;" the gas line was shut down was. "We have all the shelter victims returned in their housing-the houses which can be habitable at this time."

Backhoes and other heavy equipment could help authorities, how the rubble sought seen be.

The explosion was shortly before 11 am Wednesday, reported authorities said.

Some homes have been flattened and burn after the big bang and six more consumed were the resulting fire according to the fire chief. He said a further 16 houses were affected by the explosion.

Rent one of the houses were Antonio Arroyo, 43 and his wife Jill, who burned. He lived seven houses down from where the explosion took place.

He told CNN he was on the computer, if the explosion occurred but rejected had, to talk about his wife.

"If the explosion, the flat screen on my desk me on the back slaps,", he said. Arroyo said he turned to find that everything behind the desk had been and the home's Windows was "postponed."

He said the explosion sound as a Bombe--not a shot or fireworks and he thought, war had been placed "on our doorstep." ... This was shot that a huge vibration through the quarter. "I started looking at the sky, look on the ground to see what I was looking for."

He said his wife told him, a car was on fire outside, and he ran to see if he could help.

I was shocked, he said." "The whole House was missing." The whole House was missing at the end of the block. "There was nothing the flames, but."

Police told you to leave their homes, said everything behind it, and he left. He recalled "from roof to roof to roof to go watching the fire." A voluntary said: 'It looks good.' "

"We have again start all over", he said. "It's just stuff." "We should to jump again."

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known but Scherer said utility crews arrived on the scene and a gas line that the flames refuelling was turned off.

"We nothing at this time still have confirmed," said Scherer, when asked about the cause of the explosion. "We believe it is a natural gas explosion." If the leak inside the House or outside on the street was, we don't know. "Everyone must be investigated."

In winter he said, "are gas lines such as water lines." As the ground freezes and taut, you know, it tends to shift. And sometimes it cracks, the pipes... the cause of leaks gas and water of leaks.

"When gas is leaking in the street, you know, is to follow the path of least resistance and it could seep into the soil in your home and stuff," Scherer said. "And this explosion could create ignition source inside the House."

The explosion occurred close the gross towers senior-Center, which was evacuated. Some 500 people were immediately after the explosion in temporary shelters. Returned to the Middle Thursday were Scherer said.

"It is very cold." With my firefighters, the first frostbite last night I was very worried. We try tents and stuff, keep warmly decorated. We were relieved you as quickly as we could. (It has) very difficult with the amount of snow we had in the city here lately. ... "And of course, once we start throwing water all ice."

A natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California, eight people killed in September. The explosion and resulting fire injured 52 people and 37 houses destroyed. The explosion sent 100 feet in the air a 28-foot section of the pipeline and blew doors a grocery story of a quarter mile away.

Last month a gas pipeline explosion in Philadelphia killed a utilities workers and five others injured. CNN's Alta spells and Allan Chernoff contributed to this report.

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