Natural Gas Explosion In Pa. Kills 5 People

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – A thunderous gas explosion devastated a rowhouse neighborhood, killing five people, and suspicion fell on an 83-year-old cast-iron gas main. The fiery blast was the latest natural-gas disaster to raise questions about the safety of the nation's aging, 2.5-million-mile network of gas and liquid pipelines.

The explosion, which flattened a pair of rowhouses and set fire to a block of homes late Wednesday night, occurred in an area where the underground gas main lacked shut-off valves. It took utility workers five hours of toil in the freezing cold to punch through ice, asphalt and concrete and seal the 12-inch main with foam, finally cutting off the flow of gas that fed the raging flames.
AP