Tragic House Explosion in Pennsylvania Suburb Claims Five Lives

A devastating house explosion in Plum Borough, Pennsylvania, has resulted in the tragic loss of five lives, with one person still in critical condition. The incident occurred on Rustic Ridge Drive at Brookside Drive, according to Plum Chief of Police Lanny Conley. The Allegheny County medical examiner confirmed the deaths of four adults and one adolescent child due to the explosion. The identities of the victims have not yet been disclosed, but a family member revealed that two of the victims were father and son, Casey and Keegan Clontz.

Assistant Chief of Allegheny County Emergency Services, Steve Imbarlina, reported that two individuals have been discharged from the hospital, while one remains in critical condition. The explosion also resulted in minor injuries to fifty-seven firefighters who were treated on the scene, primarily for heat-related issues.

The explosion, which occurred around 10:23 a.m. on Saturday, obliterated three homes and caused significant damage to several others in the neighborhood. The remaining houses had their windows shattered and doors blown open due to the impact of the explosion. The township, the fire marshal, and Allegheny County emergency management were all present on Sunday to assess the situation and provide support.

The community was in shock, with many residents unable to stay in their homes overnight due to the shutdown of gas and electricity. The borough announced the cancellation of community events planned for Monday, including the borough council meeting, public hearing, and Monday Market, in light of the tragic incident.

Mike Huwar, president of Peoples Gas, stated that gas service was shut off to the Rustic Ridge neighborhood by 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Gas crews checked for gas leakages following the explosion and determined the gas system had been “operating as designed.” However, no timeline has been established for the restoration of gas services to the area.

The investigation into the cause and manner of the explosion is now underway. As of now the cause of the explosion is unclear. Imbarlina estimated that due to the time it would take to conduct forensic and another testing, the investigation could last “months, if not years.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald expressed his condolences, calling it a “sad, sad day and a sad, sad time” for the community. He also praised the support for Plum from surrounding communities, stating, “It just shows what people in southwestern Pennsylvania do when there’s these types of incidents.”