A building in Millersville, Pa., was destroyed by a natural gas explosion that occurred when a construction crew struck a gas line, causing a massive gas leak, according to a report by ABC 27.
Tom Zimmerman, who runs a business on the first floor of the building, was inside his office about an hour before the blast, ABC reported. "I was startled how strong the smell was," he said. "I never smelled gas that strong, and that concerned me." He and his co-workers went outside, where they felt it was safe, the report stated. "A neighbor pointed out at the intersection where the gas was coming out at a high rate."
Fire crews evacuated the building and the immediate area, and then a large explosion blew out one side of the building, according to the report. Officials were unsure what ignited the gas and caused the explosion.
"When we arrived on the scene we had high readings of natural gas out in the street here and in various homes and businesses," said Mike Fessler, of UGI, the local gas utility. Their next move was to turn off the power and get gas levels back down to safe levels, so they had to vent the dangerous gas out of the area, ABC reported.
"Because there is so much gas built up under the street they actually drill into the street and they have fans that extract the gas out of the street from under the ground, so it doesn't go into the properties," said Duane Hagelgans, Blue Rock Fire Commissioner.
The building that exploded is The Framery, a small picture frame shop with an apartment above it. Two people lived there with their dog. No one was home and fire crews got the dog out.
About 100 homes and businesses were evacuated after the gas line ruptured, according to a report by Lancaster Online. Residents were allowed back in their homes that night, but asked to leave again the next day when high gas readings were again detected. They were able to return that night, according to the report.
Lancaster Online also reported that natural gas levels remained inexplicably high one day after the gas explosion. "Our problem is, we discovered more gas," said Hagelgans. "We're trying to figure out where it's coming from."
To read the ABC 27 account of the explosion, click here.