Philadelphia, PA – Fire officials say they believe a gas explosion sparked what turned out to be a terrifying New Year’s morning leaving five people in the hospital and two homes completely destroyed.
About 100 firefighters, medics, chiefs and support staff responded to the 3500 block of Miller Street just before 3 a.m. for calls about an explosion in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section.
They arrived to find what appeared to be a gas explosion with two collapsed homes, several cars pushed from the street, blown out windows and debris everywhere, according to Philadelphia’s Assistant Fire Chief Charles Walker.
“We had multiple gas leaks in the area, and the smell of gas coming from multiple areas,” Walker said.
Five people were transported to local hospitals with one man in extremely critical condition. No details were released regarding the conditions of an unknown man and a 64-year-old woman, while a 47-year-old man and 44-year-old woman are said to be stable.
Officials say two of the victims were able to escape the homes on their own, but at least one had to be dug out from debris.
“We were very fortunate from what we know now not to have a loss of life, because it’s the middle of the night and everyone is sleeping,” Walker said. “And if it’s confirmed to be a gas leak, it’s very rare to have the magnitude of this type of damage occur to not have loss of life, truly a blessing.”