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Gas explosion levels home in Moon

| Thursday, March 23, 2017, 4:48 p.m.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to put out a fire at the scene of a house explosion on Convair Drive in Moon Township on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to put out a fire at the scene of a house explosion on Convair Drive in Moon Township on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters work to put out a fire at the scene of a house explosion on Convair Drive in Moon Township on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters walk through shattered glass at the scene of a house explosion on Convair Drive in Moon Township on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters walk through shattered glass at the scene of a house explosion on Convair Drive in Moon Township on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Firefighters and gas workers observe the scene of a house explosion on Convair Drive in Moon Township on Thursday, March 23, 2017.

A gas explosion Thursday destroyed a home in Moon, but no people were injured and two dogs reportedly escaped unharmed, authorities said.

About 3:45 p.m., several neighbors called 911 to report a house explosion, including at least one caller who heard the blast from at least a half-mile away, dispatchers told Moon Township Volunteer Fire Chief John Scott.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom followed by several smaller bursts, Scott said.

Nobody was inside the house when it exploded, officials said.

Emergency crews from Moon, Quaker Valley and Allegheny County rushed to the residential street to find the house demolished.

"It was total destruction," Scott said.

The man who lives at the single-family house arrived soon after responders.

Scott said the man, whom he did not identify, appeared "shocked" to find his home leveled — with nothing but large mounds of jagged wood, dirt and debris in the grassy lot where the structure stood.

The home is owned by Ryan Arreola, according to Allegheny County real estate records.

Elise Sobeck, 32, lives directly across from the home and said she heard "a boom and glass shatter."

Sobeck said her home didn't appear to sustain any damage. Her initial concern was for the resident's two dogs — a pit bull and boxer.

"I heard two or three more booms and thought, 'What is going on?' " Sobeck said. "When I opened the door and saw the flames, I thought, 'Oh, my God — the dogs.' "

Both dogs were conscious and breathing when crews arrived, Scott said.

"The house is completely leveled, so the fact that they got out, they had to be right near (a way out)," Sobeck said.

Colton Chandler, 24, lives on Moon Clinton Road about 100 yards away. He had to close his windows to keep smoke from entering his home.

"I watched the flames go up, and then I heard a bunch of men yelling and then a lot of loud popping. Sounded like gunshots," Chandler said. "The ash was landing on my porch. ... All I could see outside was white."

Crews are working to determine what caused the explosion and whether it was prompted by something inside or outside the home, Peoples Gas spokesman Barry Kukovich said. It could take weeks to determine the cause, he said.

Peoples Gas workers shut off gas service to the immediate surrounding area and were going to each home to examine gas lines, Kukovich said.

Service was expected to be restored Thursday night.

Moon Township Volunteer Fire Department is investigating the explosion with support from the fire marshal, Peoples Gas and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Staff writer Bobby Cherry contributed. Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at nlindstrom@tribweb.com.

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