1 feared dead after Philadelphia house explosion

Philadelphia — Crews are searching for victims after a powerful explosion in South Philadelphia destroyed several homes Thursday. It looked like a war zone as flames shot high in the air.

The explosion rocked a South Philadelphia neighborhood just before noon, engulfing as many as four-row houses in thick smoke and flames and trapping as many as two people inside. The blast blew out windows several blocks away and knocked over residents in their own homes. More than 120 firefighters were called in.

“Our first arriving company went into a maelstrom of fire, hanging wires, gas leaking building collapsing around them to try and get into this building and make a rescue,” said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.

But they couldn’t save anyone. It took three hours in sub-freezing temperatures before the fire was finally brought under control. Three buildings collapsed and two others are badly damaged.

Dozens of firefighters battled a fire that consumed several row houses in South Philadelphia Thursday. WTXF

“We know there is one person in the building who is most-likely deceased and reports of one to two other folks in the buildings that are fully collapsed and in one of the adjacent buildings,” Thiel said.

The fire commissioner said crews are suspending the search efforts for the night because it’s too dangerous. Officials said an estimated 60 people can’t return to nearby homes, so some of them are gathering at a nearby high school for shelter from the bitter cold.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: US & World News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *