If the Fire Department finds that today’s explosion and building collapse in South Philadelphia were caused by a gas leak, it won’t be the first time. Gas-related explosions have been a big issue in Philadelphia.
Just this month, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission fined the Philadelphia Gas Works $500,000 for missteps related to a fatal explosion in 2011.
Here’s a list of some of Philadelphia’s worst natural-gas-related explosions in recent memory.
The January explosion in Tacony that killed a 19-year-old PGW worker also injured five other employees and destroyed a rowhouse. The PUC found that PGW had failed to shut off gas mains and electricity to the neighborhood after sending its workers to resolve a gas leak in the area.
This July, PUC fined the gas company $500,000 for failing to follow safe procedures.
An explosion at PGW’s South Philadelphia refinery complex injured the plant manager. Because the fire erupted in an industrial area with few homes, no one else was hurt. The incident left much of South and West Philadelphia temporarily without heat.
Three people died in a blast that destroyed four rowhouses in West Kensington. The explosion was caused by a crack in one of PGW’s 8-inch, cast-iron gas mains.
Two almost simultaneous explosions in Tacony destroyed three buildings, killing seven and injuring 19. The explosion was caused by a cracked gas main.