Explosion levels three row homes in Philadelphia

More than 120 firefighters responded to the blaze after an explosion caused at least three buildings to collapse in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Fire Department

Dec. 19 (UPI) — An explosion damaged multiple row homes Thursday in Philadelphia, possibly burying three people, one of whom may have died, local officials said.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said emergency workers found one person under the rubble but had been unable to remove them. One or two other people were trapped in an adjacent building and were unable to be located.

Thiel said firefighters couldn’t confirm the exact number of people missing and asked people to notify officials if they can’t locate a family member or loved one.

“We’re not giving up,” Thiel said. “We don’t ever give up.

“Our first arriving companies went into … a maelstrom of fire, hanging wires, gas leaking, buildings collapsing around them to try to get into this building and make a rescue.”

The blast happened around 11:40 a.m. on South 8th Street in South Philadelphia. Firefighters put out the blaze by 2:45 p.m.

More than 120 firefighters responded to the blaze, which involved three or four buildings. Three structures collapsed. Residents in nearby homes said the blast was so powerful, it knocked out their windows.

Fire officials were unsure what caused the blaze but said it might have been gas-related.


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