Progress Report: Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA, JAN. 18, 2011 – At approximately 7:20 P.M., Pipeline 52 of the Philadelphia Fire Department was dispatched to 6932 Torresdale Ave. in the Tacony section of the city. The initial call went out for an investigation of an odor at the above location. On arrival, the officer of Pipeline 52 determined that a large gas line was leaking from the street. Immediately, he called for help, and with the assistance of Philadelphia Gas Co. employees and the Philadelphia Police Department, an evacuation of the surrounding properties was initiated. As the incident was upgraded to a hazardous materials response, all companies stretched five-inch water lines to protect the surrounding exposures. At approximately 8:35 P.M., the property at 6932 Torresdale Ave. exploded, causing total devastation to the building and surrounding properties. The explosion triggered second and third alarms.

In total, approximately 30 pieces of apparatus responded with more than 100 personnel. The blast caused the death of one gas company employee and injured six other people, including two firefighters. The incident was placed under control by the deputy commissioner of operations and companies remained on location throughout the night. The cause of the explosion was determined to be the gas furnace in the above-mentioned property.

This article represents the personal opinions of the writer and are not official representations of the Philadelphia Fire Department.