According to the Fire Marsha in Allegheny County, the cause of the weekend’s home explosion in Pennsylvania that killed five people and destroyed dozens of buildings was a concern with the hot water tank.
While investigating the cause of the wreckage that occurred early Saturday morning in Plum, Pennsylvania, police issued a statement Monday night urging the public to stay away from the area.
The Fire Marshal’s Office has confirmed that they are aware of the hot water tank problems at 141 Rustic Ridge Drive. The fire marshal’s office reported that the tank was situated in the basement.
To further understand what happened, authorities would “examine such information together with any and all other possibilities within their procedures,” the statement said.
Plum Borough Manager Michael Thomas and Heather Oravitz, the town’s community development director, along with three other neighborhood residents, Casey Clontz, Keegan Clontz, and Kevin Sebunia, were killed in the explosion, according to Mayor Harry Schlegel.
Schlegel stated that Paul Oravitz, Oravitz’s spouse, remained in serious condition on Tuesday after sustaining severe burns over much of his body. Two other people were hurt in the explosion and were discharged from the hospital.
On Monday, the government of Allegheny County posted on its Facebook page that “at least a dozen additional buildings were damaged in some fashion.”
At 10:22 a.m., 911 received many calls from the area reporting a home explosion. The callers added that several houses were on fire and reported that occupants were likely in the houses.
According to “first responders from the police and fire department,” “it seemed as though one home had burst, and two more were engulfed in flames,” and “people were trapped beneath the rubble.”
Eighteen fire companies and water tankers responded to the blaze in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. Emergency Management and Fire Marshals from the county arrived as well.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quotes Rafal Kolankowski, a neighbor who lives a short distance away, as saying that the blast shattered his windows and knocked him and his wife to the ground.
Kolankowski described the scene as “tragic,” adding, “It looks like a war zone — like a bomb struck our neighborhood, and it’s just horrible.”