Inspectors deem more homes uninhabitable after Pottstown, Pa. explosion

PECO says the homes that exploded were not served by their natural gas. A propane tank behind the homes has an AmeriGas logo.

Thursday, June 2, 2022
More homes deemed unsafe after Montgomery County explosion
Debris is still scattered everywhere after two homes exploded in a deadly blast exactly a week ago in Pottstown.

POTTSTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Inspectors in Pottstown, Montgomery County have deemed at least half a dozen homes uninhabitable after an explosion one week ago that killed five people including four children.

A structural engineer returned to Hale Street Thursday morning to continue assessing homes.

Two houses exploded in the deadly May 26 blast, and now at least six neighboring houses are deemed unsafe for families to go inside, according to Keith Place, director of the Pottstown Borough of Licensing and Inspection.

Those homes are labeled with warnings from L&I on the front doors that read "uninhabitable/unsafe."

"At this point in time, even with the inspectors, it is deemed they're uninhabitable. We have the engineer coming out to verify that and do a documented report," Place said.

Place also said more homes could potentially be deemed uninhabitable once the engineer completes inspections.

Rebecca Scott's house is one of several marked uninhabitable with orange paint and stickers.

"Our house is not going to need to be torn down, so that's a positive," Scott said. ""If there is somebody to be held accountable, I want them to be held accountable."

Teams looked at dozens of homes Wednesday.

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

"We looked at a total of 40 some properties today and I think there is an additional three on top of the first six that we want to have the structural engineer go in and take a look at," Place said.

The blast happened around 8 p.m. in the home on the 400 block of Hale Street.

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 and 8-year-old Tristan White. Their grandmother, 67-year-old Francine White, was also killed.

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.

PECO says the homes that exploded were not served by their natural gas, adding that there is no evidence that their company is to blame.

A large propane tank behind the homes has an AmeriGas logo on the side.

AmeriGas released the following statement to Action News:

We are devastated to hear of this tragic news and our hearts and prayers go out to this family and community. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate the cause of the incident. According to our records, there is an AmeriGas propane tank at the home. We look forward to seeing the results of the investigation once finalized.

For now, the aftermath of the blast remains. Debris is scattered across the neighborhood, clothing blown into trees, sneakers and toys found among the rubble. It's all a devastating reminder of the precious lives lost.

"I lost everything. I'm thankful that me and my son made it out alive that day," said Pottstown neighbor Tandra Rambert.

"It's just an extraordinary community, so the sight of this blast is utterly heartbreaking. The loss of life, the loss of a grandmother, the loss of four young children," said Congresswoman Madeleine Dean.

Federal and state leaders gathered on Hale Street Wednesday to provide outreach to the community.

"I think, longer-term, the federal government can provide support in terms of housing and rebuilding and getting the community back on its feet," said Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.

SEE ALSO: Officials identify 5 killed in Pottstown house explosion; most were children

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation, and officials say it will "continue for some time."

There are several funds collecting money for the families impacted by this tragedy. Tri-County Network has raised more than $10,000.