Pottstown community still searching for answers nearly 3 months after deadly blast

What's left behind from the May 26 explosion on Hale Street still remains. Residents say they feel neglected.

Bryanna Gallagher Image
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Community wants answers nearly 3 months after deadly blast
For those who are lucky enough to still have a home near Hale Street in Pottstown, walking past the blast site is a painful memory every day. Justin Gibbs is still without a place to call his own.

POTTSTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Pottstown, Montgomery County neighborhood is still looking for answers nearly three months after a house explosion killed four children and an adult.

"I want to know what happened. Why it happened? What's next?" questioned neighbor Justin Gibbs.

Gibbs is still without a place to call his own. He lived two houses from the Hale Street and Butler Avenue explosion on May 26.

What's left behind from the explosion still remains. For those who are lucky enough to still have a home, walking past the blast site is a painful memory every day.

Johnny Corson, a neighbor and president of the Pottstown NAACP, who was not available to speak on camera, agreed to talk with Action News from the hospital. He said the community deserves some answers.

"Neighbors have experienced every day getting up, looking out their windows and seeing that explosion site," said Corson.

A fence can only do so much to keep people out. Residents' belongings are still visibly contained inside the perimeter, scattered, with clothes hanging off tree limbs.

Miriam Last drives up from Wyndmoor to help her friend.

"I have placemats, drinking glasses, kitchen utensils," said Last.

SEE ALSO: Inspectors deem more homes uninhabitable after Pottstown, Pa. explosion

Debris is still scattered everywhere after two homes exploded in a deadly blast exactly a week ago in Pottstown.

That friend has been staying at a hotel since the explosion because she can't find a place to live.

"I have stuff I don't need. I'm gonna bring them to her. Why not?" said Last.

At this time, PECO said they have no additional updates and the investigation is ongoing. To date, they have not found evidence that their facilities caused this incident.

"They see a tragedy when they walk to school every day. Clean this up. I think the town deserves this. The community deserves this. We need answers," said Gibbs.

A healing service is expected to be held on Sept. 8 for the immediate community surrounding the explosion on the hill.

Inspectors were back out in the Pottstown community Wednesday to survey damage from last week's explosion that killed five people including four children.

"Neighbors can talk through what's hurting them. It's a healing process for those hurting up on that hill. I hope neighbors come to sit and talk at this," said Corson.

He said professional services will be available to help residents.

Though neighbors report smelling gas in the area periodically, investigators have not identified a cause of the explosion which claimed the lives of 13-year-old Alana Wood, 12-year-old Jeremiah White, 10-year-old Nehemiah White, 8-year-old Tristan White, and their grandmother, 67-year-old Francine White.

SEE ALSO: Pottstown community unites to support family after deadly blast

A vigil was held on Sunday night for the victims killed in a house explosion in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.