July 7, 2022

At least 5 people have been killed in a blast on Hale Street in Podstown, Pennsylvania.

BOTSTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) – The death toll from a house explosion Thursday night in Bottstown, Montgomery County, has risen.

A total of five people were killed Friday afternoon, officials said.

Also, two people were injured. One is in a dangerous state but in a stable state. Another underwent surgery until the afternoon.

In this case, the authorities said, everyone had an account.

“We are not able to provide further information about the victims at this time as the family announcement process is ongoing,” Justin Keller, Portstown borough manager, told a news conference Friday.

This is a breaking news update. Below is the previous story.

Firefighters are sifting through the rubble of a massive house explosion that rocked the Montgomery County community and killed at least four people.

It happened just after 8pm on Thursday near Hale and Butler streets in Podstown.

“We ran down the street and a house was completely destroyed,” a neighbor told Action News.

In addition to the four deaths, Justin Keller, Podstown borough manager, confirmed that two people have been hospitalized for unknown injuries and two are still missing.

The victims have not yet been identified by police.

Eunice Rome, a neighbor, said she did not know anyone in the house, but her grandson Shane Rome Lawrence said he went to school with some of the children who lived there.

“I’ve cried before because I’m sorry they’re dead,” Lawrence said. “It’s crazy because nothing really happened in Batstown.”

After the blast leveled at least one house, debris could be seen scattered throughout the neighborhood. Drone shots showed the extent of the damage.

Firefighters, police and EMS responded to calls.

The ATF, Pennsylvania State Police, Fire Marshal’s Office and the Red Cross also arrived at the scene Thursday night.

Employees were pouring water at the site of the bombing early Friday morning.

Residents say they heard the sound of the explosion and later saw the fire.

“The house shook, I thought it was an earthquake. We all came out to see what was happening,” said another neighbor.

According to Christian Gonzalez, a neighbor, at first I thought it was thunder.

“I thought there was very heavy thunder nearby, but it shook that area,” he said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Neighbors are still baffled as questions remain.

“My friend and I came here and saw them pulling people out,” said resident Sineer Feldon.

Keller said residents in need of help should come to Podstown Senior High School.

All schools in the Batstown school district were canceled Friday.

In a letter to the families, Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez said, “Our thoughts and prayers go to those families. When schools reopen, our counselors and psychologists will be supportive.”

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