A natural gas explosion has left one Pennsylvania man in the hospital with burn injuries. The explosion came from a nearby pipeline complex in Salem Township, about 30 miles from Pittsburgh.
According to the State Department of Environmental Protection, the blast was caused by a 36-inch pipeline which exploded and spread to a nearby wooded area. Trees within the area have been severely charred, the vinyl siding of one home has been melted in the blaze, and the home of the injured man is burned and ruined.
Within an hour, the pipeline was shut off and most of the fire was put under control. Officials say residual gas could continue to burn for several more hours.
“It looked like you were looking down into hell,” Forbes Road Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Rosatti said.
The injured man’s condition has not been released, but it has been confirmed that he was taken to the burn unit of a Pittsburgh hospital by ambulance. He was described as unable to move due to a recent back surgery when paramedics arrived.
Residents of the area drove closer to the site to check on friends and neighbors. So far, just one injury has been reported.
Tragedies such as this recent explosion are often caused by natural gas or propane. Propane is used by more than 8.1 million households, 4.6% of which use it as their main source of heat for their home.
Details surrounding the results of the many on-going investigations of the explosion are not expected to be released for another couple of weeks. The impact on gas wells and the environment will also be included in the reports.
“Our first concern is for the safety of the community, our employees, and any others who may be affected,” said Creighton Welch, spokesman for Spectra Energy Corp. of Houston, the company that owns the pipeline complex.