Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, a house in Plum, a town about 15 miles outside Pittsburgh, experienced an explosion that destroyed three homes and damaged more than a dozen others in the neighborhood.
Tragically, five people lost their lives as a result — four adults and one child — while another person was critically injured.
A Ring doorbell camera attached to a nearby house captured the shocking event.
Crews from 18 different fire departments were dispatched to help battle the devastating fire and search for victims in the wreckage.
According to WTAE-TV, 57 firefighters were treated for injuries at the scene. The source of the detonation is still uncertain, and officials have cautioned that the examination could take months or even years.
The natural gas utility company serving the region inspected for potential gas leaks, but they found their systems had been “operating as designed” when the explosion took place, WTAE reported.
Sadly, Plum has a history of explosions in residential areas.
Last April, an explosion occurred in a neighborhood roughly four miles away from the location of Saturday’s blast. Thankfully, no fatalities were reported as a result of the incident.
The cause of this explosion is still being investigated.
There was another deadly explosion in 2008, the cause of which was later discovered. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that a 2-inch natural gas distribution pipeline had been hit by a backhoe when a sewer line was replaced five years prior in 2003, stripping the pipeline of its protective coating and making it susceptible to corrosion and failure.
Holiday Park fire Chief James Sims said he has responded to six house explosions in Plum in his decades as a firefighter.
PLUM EXPLOSION | Ring door bell footage was given to us of the devastating Rustic Ridge Dr. explosion this morning in Plum. Folks on this block tell me the heavy damage is their last concern, they’re only worried about their neighbors impacted. 1/2 @WTAE pic.twitter.com/QXdcjUkWsQ
— Tori Yorgey WTAE (@toriyorgeytv) August 13, 2023
“This isn’t the first time that this has happened in Plum,” resident Justin Newman told WTAE. “We need answers. We need to know why this is happening. It’s sad that people lost their lives and we don’t have answers. We need answers for these families we need answers for this community.”