Lawrenceville, PA – By Moustafa Ayad, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Lawrenceville man was burned and a female neighbor suffered minor injuries last night when he tried to light a pilot light on a water heater and possibly caused a leaking gas furnace to explode.
The blast happened around 8 p.m. at a duplex in the 200 block of Urbana Way. The force of the explosion sent a doorknob flying 35 feet into the back yard. Shattered glass from a storm door was scattered in an alley connecting the duplex to another home.
Officials said the man’s furnace might have been leaking natural gas at the time of the explosion. The ceiling in the duplex and an adjoining wall were destroyed. Equitable Gas Co. officials and the Allegheny County fire marshal were investigating last night.
The woman was injured when pieces of the wall and ceiling fell on her as she was taking a nap, neighbors said. She went to West Penn Hospital in a private vehicle.
The man was taken to Mercy Hospital. He had second- and third-degree burns to his face, arms and hands, said Pittsburgh fire Battalion Chief Jim Washabaugh.
Police did not immediately identify the victims.
Chief Washabaugh said the blast caused a temporary flash that extinguished itself. Damage was extensive, he said.