Archbald, PA- Paul Tomkos life was laid bare for anyone who wanted to gawk inside his house at 249 Main St. on Friday.
His neatly made bed, a green vase atop the refrigerator, a closet stacked with folded linens, and an assortment of cookware and cleaners tucked inside kitchen cabinets were all visible after an apparent natural-gas explosion rocked the house from its foundation and propelled the north-facing wall onto his driveway.
Its surreal. Its bizarre. I just thank God no one got hurt, Mr. Tomko, 47, said. This is uncharted waters for me. I dont know whats happening. Im trying to get information myself.
On Friday morning, a phalanx of utility workers and investigators sought out the source of a natural gas leak that preceded Thursdays blast.
I think I need a new fence, said Richard Mayne, 69, of 247 Main St. A felled brick chimney on the south-facing wall of Mr. Tomkos home crushed Mr. Maynes chain-link fence and damaged a shingle on his home.
The usually quiet row of houses along the main thoroughfare became a hub of activity at about 5 p.m. Thursday after Mr. Tomko arrived home to discover a cloud of gas in his basement.
Mr. Tomko, who alerted authorities and neighbors, watched his house explode from Delaware Street while Archbald Fire Chief Bob Harvey was trying to shut off the gas.
Chief Harvey returned to the site Friday, where he was assisted by investigators with the Public Utility Commission, UGI Penn Natural Gas, state police fire marshals and others, including representatives of Mr. Tomkos insurance company.
Were trying to figure it out and to duplicate the scenario to find out where the leak was, Chief Harvey said.
State police fire marshal Trooper Stephen Kaneski determined late Friday morning that it was no longer a criminal investigation and turned it over to local authorities and the utility company.
Finding the source of the leak may prove difficult because of the damage caused by the explosion, said UGI spokesman Dom Brominski. He was uncertain when the probe would be completed.
Safety is the companys top priority when it comes to the natural gas system, Mr. Brominski said.
George Tomko, 52, Pauls brother, glanced at the house as a light snow fell.
You look at how bad it was, then theres a vase on top of the refrigerator untouched, pictures and mirrors on the wall with nothing wrong with them, he said.