WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — An explosion believed to have been caused by a gas leak reduced a western Pennsylvania home to a pile of rubble and injured five people, authorities said.
The blast just before 4 p.m. Wednesday near a high school in North Franklin Township was widely felt around the area, the (Washington) Observer-Reporter reported.
Washington County Director of Public Safety Jeff Yates told the paper that three township firefighters, the homeowner and a neighbor were injured. Officials said none of the injuries appeared life-threatening.
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North Franklin Supervisor Bob Sabot said the township’s fire chief Dave Bane was among those injured.
Firefighters had been in the area investigating a gas smell in the neighborhood before the blast, township supervisor Bob Sabot said.
Christi Frauenholz, of Canton, Ohio, whose husband was working at the nearby Washington & Jefferson College, told the paper that she and others “were about knocked off our feet.”
Rushing to the scene where a plume of smoke was rising, and fearing a plane had crashed, she found a woman who had escaped sitting on a neighbor’s steps, “bleeding from the ears and head” but able to walk to an ambulance, she said.
“She was in her house and smelled gas,” Frauenholz said. “She went outside, and as soon as she opened the garage door, (the house) exploded.”