Massive Blast Rattles Philadelphia

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 2:11pm

Utility worker killed, four wounded when gas leak ignites.

A giant explosion rocked the Tacony Section of Philadelphia Tuesday night claiming the life of a gas worker and wounding four others.

The deadly blast happened as crews were working to patch a high-pressure gas main break.

The dramatic blast sent flames and sparks high into the sky, a moment caught on tape by an NBC videographer on the scene.

The body of an unidentified Philadelphia Gas Works employee was found after the fire was controlled, according to sources.

Sources say that the worker was only 19-years-old.

Three other PGW workers and one firefighter were transported to local hospitals.

Three of the gas workers are in critical condition at the Temple University Hospital Burn Unit.

The firefighter is also at the Temple University Hospital Burn Unit in stable condition, sources said.

It happened around 7:36 p.m. as crews worked to fix both the gas leak and a water main that was possibly damaged due to pressure from the break in the 12-inch gas main.

The blast could be felt as far away as Palmyra and Pennsauken across the river in New Jersey.

Before the blast dozens of people were evacuated from nearby homes and businesses within a two-block radius.

There are houses, a retirement community and a 7-Eleven store near the intersection.

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