Pipe 'Imperfection' May Be Cause of Allentown Blast

Monday, Feb 14, 2011  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Authorities search for answers after gas pipe explosion kills five people and destroys several homes.

NBCPhiladelphia.com - Marisa Brahney

Authorities search for answers after gas pipe explosion kills five people and destroys several homes.

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Families Try to Put Together the Pieces After Deadly Inferno

Five people were killed after a Wednesday night blast in Allentown, Pa. More than 24 hours later victims and witnesses were still trying to wrap their heads around what happened.

Allentown Explosion Destorys Life, Property

An explosion kills 5 people including a baby, teen and elderly couple in Allentown and destroys a city block.
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Authorities evacuated a gas line pipe Sunday in search of the cause of last week's violent blast that killed five people and destroyed several homes.

Fire Chief Robert Scheirer said investigators focused on an abnormally shaped section of pipe. Scheirer calls it an "imperfection unlike what we're seeing in the other 60 feet of pipe" in a statement in the Morning Call of Allentown. That pipe was dug to be studied by forensics experts with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. During survey authorities also discovered a minor leak.

In a statement released by John Walsh, Cheif Executive Officer of UGI Utilities, the damaged section of the pipe will be shipped to an Edison, NJ lab Monday for soil tests and further inspection.

"On behalf of the entire UGI family, I would like to, again, express our sincere condolences to those families impacted by this tragedy. We remain focused on providing support to those families while we move forward with this critical investigation."

A special prayer service was held for victims of the gas explosion and their families at the St.Thomas More Church in Salisbury Township

"I think it's moments like this the community really comes together," Bishop John Barres said.

The American Red Cross continues to accept donations for those who were displaced by the explosion.  The organization distributed money, food, and clothing to 13 families who had been affected.


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