“I Thought We Were Under Attack”

Allentown explosion victim describes the moment of the blast and what happened next

The Allentown explosion that killed five people was so intense that Antonio Arroyo thought the country was under attack.

"We thought the worst. We thought they brought it to our front yard," he said the morning after the blast.

Arroyo lived seven houses down from the home that exploded on North 13th Street. He and his wife Jill had been home all night.

"We were there. We were talking. . . I was getting ready to check my email, then I realized the time," he said and started to go downstairs to see if his wife was ready for bed.

"When I walked away, my screen smacked me in the back, along with all the windows, and it was such an impact, to be honest, I thought we were under attack. . .I was just looking up in the sky to see if I saw anything."

Jill thought a car had hit the house. Antonio ran outside, expecting to help whoever was in that car.

"But when I got to the end of the block, it was like, it was hard to fathom. I'd just seen a house there and it was no longer there." Antonio said an elderly couple lived in that home and because their car was in the driveway people were assuming they were among the five victims.

The Arroyos were evacuated along with other neighbors and more than 350 people from a nearby nursing home.

"We lost everything," said Antonio. "We just held each other and we figure we're just going to start from the beginning again."

Investigators were working Thursday to recover the victims and figure out what caused the explosion.

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