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Investigation Of Deadly Explosion Looks At 1920s Gas Main

By Jaccii Farris
Published On: Aug 18 2011 10:17:13 AM CDT
Updated On: Feb 11 2011 04:41:21 AM CST
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

While many struggle to come to grips with an explosion that killed five people and destroyed or damaged dozens of homes, investigators continue to look for the reason behind the blast.

Some of the residents were let back into their homes Friday and the restricted area was made smaller.

The debris field from Wednesday night's explosion and fire at North 13th and West Allen streets stretches for blocks.

On 69 News at Sunrise Friday morning, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski said the cause of the explosion remains unclear.

He asked people to stay away from the scene because of safety concerns and to allow investigators to do their work.

"There's a lot of debris. There's still a lot of evidence," said Pawlowski. "It wasn't until early this morning that they found the fifth body. So, we want people to stay away. Let the crews do their jobs. Let the investigators do their jobs. We'll get to the bottom of what happened here."

Investigators said all they have right now is a time line.

At 10:45 Wednesday night, two homes were flattened by an explosion. The resulting inferno destroyed six more. Hundreds of people in neighboring homes were evacuated.

Five people were killed.

Now, one of the questions being asked focuses on a gas main from the 1920s and the fact UGI had recently tested the area for leaks.

"We have a lot of aging infrastructure in our urban areas and it is really critical that we as a state and as a country focus on replacing this infrastructure that is so critical for the energy delivery for a lot of residents, for a lot of folks," said Pawlowski.

Link: UGI Statement On Explosion