One Person Dead After Allentown Explosion

Late-night blast levels house, causes other homes to catch fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A row home exploded in Allentown, causing extensive damage to the area. (Published Thursday, Feb 10, 2011)

    At least one person is dead and five people unaccounted for after an explosion in Allentown.

    The explosion happened around 11 p.m. Wednesday at N 13th Street and W Allen Street in Allentown, Pa.

    The property appeared to be leveled.

    Some nearby homes caught fire after the blast, Allentown Police said.

    Firefighters were quickly on the scene battling the blaze.

    UGI crews also arrived at the scene and were able to get a nearby gas leak under control around 4 a.m.

    The explosion was so intense that it could be felt as far away as Bethlehem and Northampton, according to the Express-Times.

    Authorities evacuated approximately 500 to 600 residents in the area, with most being from the Gross Towers, a nearby elder care and nursing home.

    Those residents are currently being allowed back into their homes though it should take several hours.

    Eight homes were destroyed, two by the blast and six by fire. 16 additional homes were also damaged.

    Eight residents were displaced and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. One firefighter also suffered an ankle injury.

    Authorities also say that one person is dead and five people in the area are still unaccounted for, including an elderly couple who lived in the house where the blast is believed to have originated.

    "We're not sure who was home at the time of the explosion," said Chief Robert Scheirer of the Allentown Fire Department.

    "We're still actively trying to locate everyone that would've been in that property."

    13th Street is currently closed between Liberty Street and Tilghman Street. 

    Allen Street is also closed between 14th Street and Jefferson Street.  

    While it's suspected that a gas leak led to the explosion, there is still no official cause.


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