Philadelphia, PA – Natural Gas Fuels Intense Fire

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PHILADELPHIA — An explosion and fire leveled at least one home in northeast Philadelphia Tuesday and damaged several others.

The fire, authorities said, was fueled by a natural gas high-pressure main at the house at 1235 Disston Street.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire.

Even the pavement appeared to be on fire as gas fueled the fast-moving fire that got started shortly before 4 Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the scene because of the odor of gas. There was one woman in the house and firefighters got her out just seconds before it exploded.

“It seems like a bomb, a big bomb, man. Big. All the houses around here just shake. Everybody went out of his house and everybody felt like a bomb was in his house,” said Basha Bari, a neighbor. “I saw a lady running out of the house and the whole house just fell apart. Just collapsed altogether.”

“We were watching TV with the baby. All of a sudden, me and my son were thrown on the floor from the bang we heard. The house was leveled,” witness Mike Foy said. “(Then) I thought, don’t hit my car. I went out, looked across the street and there was no house.”

The back window of Roy’s car was broken out from the blast.

Late Tuesday afternoon firefighters were containing the flames, but could not put them out completely. The fire commissioner told NBC 10 that the gas would have to burn off before the fire can be stopped. The gas was turned off for about 20 minutes.

PGW gas crews were on the scene and a representative told NBC 10 that it takes them a while to decrease the pressure and once they are finally able to turn the pressure off, the flames will die.