PORT RICHMOND – Just a few hours before New Year’s Day, an explosion rocked a Port Richmond neighborhood. Three people were hospitalized, two others were treated for their injuries and released. One person is in critical condition. Two homes were reduced to rubble, and dozens of crews responded to the scene Sunday morning and began picking up the pieces as they investigated what happened.
One neighbor who lives nearby described the scene as World War III right on his block.
“My son came upstairs and said, ‘Dad, get out of bed!’ The house behind us just blew up! They’re gone, they’re gone!” Frank said.
The devastating and shocking 2023 beginning for residents after, according to fire officials, around 2 a.m. 30 hours of a gas explosion that flattened two rows and shattered cars and windows for more than a block.
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“When we started the investigation, we were able to pull out two people who had freed themselves from the explosions and one person that we had to dig out of the debris,” said Philadelphia Fire Department Assistant Chief Charles Walker.
Neighbor Frank said he was thankful he and his family were not seriously injured when the ceiling collapsed in their home when it exploded. “I was trapped under the ceiling and luckily I wasn’t hurt, my mum wasn’t hurt so we’re all alive.”
The night was full of celebratory fireworks, due to the New Year’s celebration, which caused confusion for many in the area.
“I thought World War Three was going on, to be honest with you. I heard the loudest boom I’ve ever heard in my life, they were setting off fireworks and when the ceiling came down I thought the fireworks had hit my roof.” Frank explained.
Frank explained that he had never experienced anything like Sunday morning in his life. “Never. Never! Like I said, I thought it was World War III and it looks like there. Looks like Armageddon. I feel sorry for the people who lived in that house.”
The damage was far beyond what any reasonable firework could do, and the beam of damage affected so many homeowners. Not the way the neighbor wanted 2023 to start.
“For this to happen on New Year’s, it’s a bad start to the New Year. It’s a bad sign. I hope the rest of the year is different from today,” Frank noted.