Philadelphia, July 29, 2013 – At 11:09 a.m. this morning, an incident was reported on the 400 block of Daly Street in the Whitman section of South Philadelphia. The City has determined that an explosion occurred due to natural gas. The explosion caused three homes to collapse: 426, 428 and 430 Daly Street. The situation was placed under control at approximately 1:00 p.m.
428 Daly Street was a permitted construction site. The Fire Marshall, the Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I), and the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) are currently investigating the cause of the gas leak, and PGW has shut off gas service to that block.
PFD extinguished a small fire upon arriving on scene and rescued several people from the rubble. 8 patients, including 3 children, were transported to area hospitals. 4 adults and 3 children were taken to Jefferson University Hospital with minor injuries and are all in stable condition. 1 patient was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with severe burns and was later transferred to the Temple University Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.
At the height of the evacuation, 70 homes on Daly and Wolf Streets were evacuated. 48 homes on Daly Street remain evacuated, but they are expected to be accessible before the end of the day. Residents on Wolf Street can return to their homes. A Reception Center was set up at Taggart Elementary School (400 W. Porter Street) and 14 people remain at the shelter, which will remain open through at least dinner this evening.
All residents in the affected homes have been accounted for. PFD is currently double-checking that no one else is in the rubble by utilizing listening devices. L&I has brought in heavy equipment to safely begin debris clean-up. City officials, including representatives from PFD, L&I, and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), as well as representatives from PGW, will remain on the scene throughout the remainder of the day.