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VIDEO: House explosion in Pittsburgh leaves at least 5 dead, several injured

At least three homes were completely leveled by the explosion, while several others were damaged, including shattered windows and broken walls

Home on fire
Home on fire | Shutterstock

August 15, 2023 6:23am

Updated: August 15, 2023 6:23am

At least five people died and three others were injured after a house exploded in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, causing damage throughout the neighborhood, authorities reported. 

Police responded to a call reporting an explosion and multiple houses on fire in Plum, a borough in western Pennsylvania at around 10 a.m., according to the Plum Borough Police Department. When police officers arrived, they found “people trapped under the debris.”

At least three homes were completely leveled by the explosion, while several others were damaged, including shattered windows and broken walls, county officials said during a news conference. 

ring doorbell video of the incident shows the house exploding, causing a big cloud of smoke and fire, and leaving debris everywhere. 

"It's just tragic, I mean, it looks like a war zone — it looks like a bomb hit our neighborhood and it's just unfortunate," said neighbor Rafal Kolankowski. "I was just with some of the neighbors yesterday, right, and now this happens."

Four adults and one adolescent died from the explosion, said Chief of the Plum Borough Police Department Lanny Conley. Their identities have not yet been released. Officials told reporters that they do not know the exact number of people that are unaccounted for because one of the homes may have had visitors. 

At least three individuals were transported to the hospital, said assistant chief for Allegheny County emergency services Steve Imbarlina. Two of the victims were released from the hospital by Sunday afternoon. The third remains in the hospital in critical condition. 

Additionally, 57 firefighters were treated by emergency medical workers for minor injuries they received when they responded to the explosion site. 

“That could have been anything from a strain sprain to heat-related issues,” he said. “They were treated on scene and returned to duty and re-entered the effort.”

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the explosion. According to Peoples Natural Gas, the company that provides gas service to the neighborhood, its system was operating “as designed” after gas workers checked for leaks in the area. 

“This investigation may last for months if not years,” said Chief Imbarlina. 

It is still unclear how many homes were affected by the explosion, officials said. 

“With an explosion like that, there is bound to be other collateral damage,” the president of the Plum Borough Council, Mike Doyle, said. “I was walking away yesterday and I saw a Jeep with a back window blown out, so it’s not just houses.”