Two people were injured in South Philadelphia Thursday night after a suspected gas explosion ignited a property on the 1800 block of South Bancroft Street.
Officials with the Philadelphia Fire Department shortly after 7 p.m. received a call reporting a gas explosion caused a fire in the building's basement.
Neighbor Ryan Lohbauer said he ran outside after his house was rocked by an explosion, a feeling he likened to a car crashing into the foundation.
“There was a commotion one block over – I could hear it,” Lohbauer said. “People were shouting and there was clearly some PGW work going on. There were five or six PGW workers trying to deal with the situation, running around very hurriedly.”
He said the windows of the home where the blaze began were blown out, the blinds dangling from the sills. “Two minutes later, the first fire truck had gotten there and flames were coming out of the first floor,” Lohbauer said. “Another five minutes passed and they were coming out of the roof rafters on the side. It was pretty shocking.”
A spokesman for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania said at least three families were displaced by the fire. All displaced residents were being asked to go to the True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church, located at 1606 Mifflin St.
Authorities said the blaze, which was contained to one property, was brought under control shortly after 8 p.m. Two civilians were taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Their ages and conditions were not immediately available.