PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Utility officials say they found no natural gas leaks in the vicinity of an explosion that left three homes destroyed in a northeast Philadelphia neighborhood and sent five people to hospitals a few hours into the new year.
Officials from Philadelphia Gas Works spoke to more than 100 people at a meeting Wednesday night about the 3 a.m. Sunday blast in Port Richmond that reduced two buildings to rubble and left a third ready for demolition. More than 40 other homes and a number of nearby cars were also damaged, officials said.
Assistant Fire Chief Charles Walker said two people managed to free themselves but one person had to be dug out of the rubble. Five people were taken to hospitals, two with critical injuries, authorities said.
PGW spokesperson Melanie McCottry said the utility is responsible for gas mains along roadways and service lines that feed into a property’s meter as well as infrastructure along other streets, and all appeared in “good operating condition.”
Anything beyond the meter, however, is a property owner’s responsibility, and officials can’t determine the condition of pipes or appliances beyond the meter in any of the properties, McCottry said. Other tests were planned when the fire department and city licensing and inspection officials allow that, she said.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said Wednesday the information is preliminary and could change as the probe continues, but a full investigation could take a year or longer to complete.
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