Photo of a home on fire from natural gas.
A natural gas explosion has resulted in the demise of at least one. CC by Leonard G/Wikimedia Commons

At least one person is dead in Allentown, Penn. Another five people are missing after a natural gas explosion and fire. A neighborhood full of row houses exploded in Allentown, Penn. The explosion took place around 10:45 p.m. local time Wednesday. At least one full row of six houses was destroyed, and another 16 homes were badly damaged.

An explosion from natural gas in Allentown, Penn.

It is still unknown what caused the Allentown natural gas explosion. The fire chief in Allentown said it was “under investigation.” For an explosion of this size, natural gas in heavy concentration would have had to be sparked, which could happen if a gas stove were left on or a natural gas leak went undiscovered for a long period of time. Computer monitors got thrown six to eight houses away from the strength of the blast.

More than 600 people evacuated because of explosion

In Allentown, Penn., there was a huge natural gas explosion. This caused an evacuation of more than 600 people. One full row of homes, at least six, was burned down by the fire caused by the explosion. There were 16 other homes damaged by it. There will be inspections of close apartment complexes before anyone is allowed to return. At least one person was killed by the explosion and resulting fire, and another five people are still unaccounted for.

Natural gas main to be inspected

According to the UGI Utilities, Inc., representative, there was a “routine leak inspection” recently on the gas main near Allentown, Penn., where the natural gas explosion happened, and the main passed. The utility company also indicates that there was no history of leaks under the row housing that exploded and no calls about gas odors. The company doesn’t know what caused the explosion. Both sides of the gas main were sealed to stop the burning fire on Thursday morning. This took crews five hours because they had to cut through reinforced concrete first.

Citations

MSNBC: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/41504665

Salon: http://salon.com/wires/business/2011/02/10/D9L9TOSO0_us_building_explosion/index.html

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