PA – By Jan Ackerman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One of two dogs died during a natural gas explosion at a house in the West Tarentum neighborhood yesterday afternoon, shortly after a valve broke while a gas stove was being replaced.

The house, at 204 Heuser St., was heavily damaged from the explosion, which occurred around 1:19 p.m.

Officials from the Red Cross, which was providing food, shelter and clothing for the displaced occupants, said a family of four adults had been living in the house and were unharmed.

Three of them fled the house after the gas valve broke.

Joe Long, who lives nearby, said other neighbors came running over to tell him that a gas line had ruptured while they were removing an old stove and getting ready to install a new one at the house.

Long said he saw flames coming from the kitchen. He tried to enter the house to rescue the two dogs that were still inside, but said just as he opened the door, he felt an explosion inside.

“I took two steps and it blew me back,” he said.

The exterior of the two-story brick house suffered smoke and fire damage, but was not leveled. The inside was severely charred.

Police took the dog that survived to a veterinarian, who was giving it oxygen.

Officials from the Allegheny County fire marshal’s office are investigating.