House Obliterated In Pennsylvania Gas Explosion; Two Injured

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (AP) -- A gas explosion destroyed one house and damaged two others on either side of it Wednesday, injuring two teens, one critically, authorities said.

A subcontractor for Comcast Cable was digging near the residence when workers either caused or discovered a natural gas leak and advised Columbia Gas of the problem about 2 p.m., according to Moon Township police Capt. Leo McCarthy.

A short time later, a 14-year-old girl and her brother, 18, returned from school and entered the house. The girl told police they smelled a strange odor, but were not warned of any danger before the explosion destroyed their home.

Both teens were taken to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, where police said the boy was initially listed in critical condition and they weren't able to interview him. A nursing supervisor said she hadn't been cleared to identify the teens or comment on their condition.

Columbia Gas spokesman Rob Boulware said the subcontractor apparently hit a two-inch line owned by the gas company.

Gas was shut off in the area and firefighters continued to attempt to knock down hot spots hours after the explosion. Emergency officials prohibited anyone from returning to the immediate area of Bertley Ridge Drive in Moon Township, about 10 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Residents were evacuated to a nearby school and weren't expected to return home for several hours until their homes could be inspected and deemed safe.