Cracked Pipe Likely Caused Allentown Blast

By Stacey Stauffer and David Chang
|  Monday, Feb 14, 2011  |  Updated 6:45 PM EDT
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Officials spent the day removing a cracked portion of a gas line believed to be the cause behind last Wednesday's blast that killed five people and leveled several row homes.

NBCPhiladelphia.com - Stacey Stauffer, Phil Houser

Officials spent the day removing a cracked portion of a gas line believed to be the cause behind last Wednesday's blast that killed five people and leveled several row homes.

In the aftermath of the deadly Allentown explosion last Wednesday, local residents now want answers.

UGI crews worked on Allen Street on Monday to remove part of a 12-inch gas main while machines cleared what was left of the eight houses that were destroyed.

An inspection on Sunday revealed a six-inch crack, which officials believe caused Wednesday’s blast.

Five people were killed during the explosion:

  • Matthew Vega, 4 months old 
  • Katherine Cruz, 16
  • Ofelia Ben, 69
  • Beatrice Hall, 73
  • William Hall, 79

“The devastation is just unbelievable,” said survivor Karen Grabowski.

Governor Tom Corbett visited the site of the blast and met with four of the survivors who lost their homes.

Three minor leaks were also detected a few blocks from the blast site on Sunday, though they were fixed.

Crews still have not removed the damaged pipe that they believe caused the blast.

UGI says that its too early to tell what caused the break in the pipe. It will be sent to a lab in New Jersey for testing.

There is no word on whether the survivors or Allentown will qualify for state aid.

UGI has given $20,000 to people whose homes were destroyed.

A viewing for Katherine Cruz and her son Matthew began Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Kulik Funeral Home in Allentown.

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