5 Killed, Including 4 Children, Identified in Pottstown House Explosion

Several neighbors reported hearing a loud blast in the area. Videos and photos from the scene showed several homes destroyed or damaged.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Read this story in Spanish here.

The number of people who died as a result of a house explosion in Pottstown, Pennsylvania grew to five Friday afternoon, authorities said, and their identities were released.

Four of the five people killed were 13 years old or younger, police said.

The blast originated at a home on Hale Street near Butler Avenue around 8 p.m. Thursday, and damaged other houses nearby.

Those killed in the blast have been identified as Francine White, 67, Alana Wood, 13, Jeremiah White, 12, Nehemiah White, 10, and Tristan White, 8.

In addition to those killed, two people were being treated for injuries, Pottstown Borough Manager Justin Keller said. One of them was undergoing surgery for unknown injuries and the other was in critical but stable condition, he said.

They remain in critical condition at a nearby hospital and have been identified as Eugene White, 44, and Kristina Matuzsan, 32.

Police have yet to identify a cause for the explosion.

Several neighbors said they heard a loud blast in the area. Videos and photos from the scene showed several homes damaged.  Two of the homes were completely destroyed, authorities said Friday. Keller said around a dozen people were displaced.

"I heard a huge explosion," Russell Noll, a neighbor, told NBC10 Philadelphia. "I thought a bomb went off. I thought somebody dropped a bomb somewhere. And then all the sirens started going off. And it wasn't too far from where I lived. So I started walking towards where the sirens and ambulance were going and it was just a huge explosion around the whole area."

Ashley Miller, another neighbor, told NBC10 she was sitting on her bed when the back window of the room blew out.

"I just saw smoke and I thought the whole back of the house was gone and I just ran for the kids and ran out the door," Miller said.

The Pottstown Fire Department, Pottstown Police, Pennsylvania State Police, ATF, Fire Marshals Office and the Red Cross remained at the scene as the investigation continued.

NBC10's SkyForce10 helicopter on Friday showed investigators standing next to a large propane tank amid the rubble. Pottstown Fire Chief Frank Hand said the tank was located at the home where the explosion took place, but he added that he didn't know what the tank had been used for prior to the blast.

All Pottstown schools were closed for students and staff on Friday due to the explosion, Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez announced Thursday night.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families," Rodriguez wrote. "When schools open again, our counselors and psychologists will be available to provide support."

Contact Us