Philadelphia row house collapses, injuring 8
PHILADELPHIA — A natural gas leak was to blame for an explosion on a densely packed city block that caused one row house to collapse into the street and left eight people injured, including two babies and a critically injured contractor, officials said.
City inspectors made the determination late Monday afternoon, several hours after the collapse of an unoccupied home being remodeled in the middle of a south Philadelphia street of connected two-story brick homes.
The contractor, whose name was not immediately released, was working on a water heater in the basement of the destroyed home, police said. He was hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns, Mayor Michael Nutter's office said in a statement.
Bricks showered onto the small street and crushed a car parked out front.
The houses on either side of the destroyed home were standing but badly damaged, with large sections of their masonry walls gone.
“I was in the shower and I thought my house was about to fall down,” said Christie Scibblo, a 26-year-old mother of four who lives four houses down from the collapsed home.
“I ran outside and I saw a firefighter rescuing an infant.”
Scibblo said she also saw firefighters hosing down a man who had been burned.
Daniel Killian, 19, who lives across the narrow street from the house that collapsed, said he smelled gas shortly before the collapse.
Joseph Szymborski, 33, was jolted from his bed when he heard what sounded like an explosion and ran outside to find “the house was in the street.”
He said he ran down the street to help neighbors and rescuers look through the rubble, though he was worried about the remains of the damaged buildings falling on him.
“It's situations like this, you just come together as a neighborhood,” Szymborski said.
Rescue crews combed through the rubble for victims.
They said early Monday afternoon that the search was complete and no one was unaccounted for.
Nearby gas and electrical utility service was turned off and 70 homes were initially evacuated, though the city said most of the affected neighbors were being allowed back into their homes by late afternoon. Residents with nowhere to go were taken to a nearby school, which was being used as a temporary shelter.
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said the state regulatory agency would have jurisdiction if the explosion occurred outside the home but not if it occurred inside.
Last month, a collapse at a downtown Philadelphia demolition site killed six people and injured 12 when a large wall fell on an adjacent thrift store.
A machinery operator is charged with involuntary manslaughter and a grand jury is weighing whether anyone else should be charged.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lawrence power plant being converted to gas from coal
- Evidence for charge not found in Pa. case
- 2001 same-sex union recognized despite partner’s death
- Va. trucker hit Mega Millions jackpot in Pa.
- Pennsylvania Senator Casey pushes for railroad bridge inspectors
- Medical pot has advocate in Pennsylvania House
- Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
- Philly’s new vibrancy lures crowds
- Probe continues in fatal shooting in Sharon hospital parking lot
- Pa. man gets life in prison for girlfriend’s ‘obscene’ slaying