Three missing, three hospitalized after house explosion rocks Pittsburgh suburb

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A house explosion in a Pittsburgh suburb set several homes on fire and caused multiple injuries, police said. 

At around 10:23 a.m. Saturday morning, emergency services received a 911 call reporting a house explosion at Rustic Ridge Drive and Brookside Drive in Plum Borough, the Plum Police Department said.

First responders arrived on the scene shortly after and discovered that people were trapped under debris after one house apparently exploded, and two others were engulfed in flames. Several other homes were damaged with windows blown out, police said.

In total, three homes were destroyed and at least a dozen more were damaged. 

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Plum Pennsylvania fire

First responders from the Plum Police Department and fire department work to rescue residents after a house exploded on Saturday morning.  (KDKA via NNS)

Allegheny and Westmoreland counties sent water tankers to the scene and 18 different fire departments coordinated to put out the flames and conduct rescue operations. Allegheny County Emergency Management officials and Fire Marshals were on the scene.

Crews were put to work checking existing nearby structures and checking gas lines, police said. 

Three people were transported to local hospitals and three others are currently unaccounted for, according to police. 

“The scene remains very active,” said Amie Downs, director of communications for Allegheny County. 

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Plum Pennsylvania fire

Allegheny and Westmoreland counties sent water tankers to the scene and 18 different fire departments coordinated to put out the flames, police said.  (KDKA via NNS)

George Emanuele, a neighbor who lives three houses down from the home that exploded, told TribLIVE he was eating a sandwich when the explosion happened Saturday morning. Emanuele said at first he thought his neighbor’s roof had collapsed. 

He and another neighbor went down to the house before the flames got out of control, according to TribLIVE. There, they found a man laying in the home’s backyard and dragged him about 50 feet away from the house.

Emanuele said the man whose house exploded told him “there was a lot of ammo in the house.” 

TribLIVE reported that periodic explosions could be heard after the initial boom.

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Plum Pennsylvania fire

Three people were transported to a local hospital and three more are unaccounted for, authorities said.  (KDKA via NNS)

Another neighbor, Jeremy Rogers, reported damage to his home two doors down from where the explosion happened.

“My cabinets are all down in my kitchen. The ceiling’s falling in,” Rogers told TribLIVE.

Rogers said he was out shopping when is Ring doorbell alerted him to a problem at the house. When he checked his video feed, he “saw all sorts of stuff flying around.” 

Rogers told TribLIVE his family made it out of the home safely but that his three cats and dog were still inside. He said firefighters permitted him to go back inside and rescue his dog, but he wasn’t able to get the cats. 

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A third neighbor, Amy Cooper, said she the explosion felt “like a bomb went off.” Plaster fell down from the ceiling. Windows broke and her siding blew out, TribLIVE reported. 

Downs said police will schedule a briefing at Ridge Top Park on Ridge Top Drive once additional details and updates are available. 



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