FOUR of the five people killed in a house explosion on Thursday night have now been confirmed as children, officials say.
Pottstown Borough Manager Justin Keller confirmed the news Friday after the blast threw debris around a neighborhood in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
Pottstown Police identified the victims as Francine White, 67; Alana Wood, 13; Jeremiah White, 12; Nehemiah White and Tristan White, 8.
Two people remain in trauma centers in the area. Police identified these victims as Eugene White, 44, and Kristina Matuzsan, 32.
“One is in critical but stable condition. The other is currently undergoing surgery for unknown injuries,” Keller said.
The explosion was reported at around 8:30 p.m. on May 26 at 453 Hale Street. All seven occupants of this house were recorded.
Officials confirmed on Friday that two homes were destroyed and several others are being investigated.
Authorities are still investigating what may have caused the explosion, but it is believed to be an isolated case.
Multiple reports indicate that neighbors had been complaining about a smell of natural gas in the neighborhood for months prior to the blast.
On Friday, officials could not confirm how many complaints had been received from neighbors about the smell of gas in the past few months.
Crime scene photos show police officers roping down areas around fallen poles and wires. According to local reporter Evan Brandt, cars in the neighborhood were also damaged.
Brandt shared a series of photos and videos from the devastating scene Twittersaying residents and first responders were “stunned”.
Neighbors in the area reported hearing a loud bang, according to multiple reports.
Tandra Rambert told The Morning Call she was hiding behind her couch when the blast took place. She also said that the family who lived in one of the destroyed houses are new to the neighborhood.
“They had four or five kids and I know they just had a puppy,” Rambert said.
Other neighbors spoke of broken windows, photos falling off walls and debris flying through the neighborhood.
Temporary shelters are being set up for those displaced by the blast at Pottstown High School.
“The American Red Cross in Southeastern Pennsylvania has now served a total of 9 families [25 people] with immediate emergency assistance, including shelter, food, personal hygiene items and emotional support, following the blast in Pottstown on Thursday night,” Red Cross spokeswoman Alana Mauger said in a statement obtained by The Morning Call.
“Our trained disaster relief workers will be providing free breakfast and lunch for community residents on Saturday, May 28 between 8am and 2pm at Pottstown Senior High School. We will continue to evaluate the needs of those affected.”
Schools in Pottstown were closed Friday as a result of the blast.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to these families,” Rodriguez wrote.
“When schools reopen, our counselors and psychologists will be available to provide support.”
Pottstown is in Montgomery County, about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/5432695/pottstown-house-explosion-gas-pennsylvania/ Horror as a home explosion in Pottstown Pennsylvania kills 4 children and one adult after residents smelled gas for MONTHS