Cleanup Continues After Deadly Explosion Rocks Plum Borough Community
August 14, 2023
PLUM BOROUGH (KDKA) — Cleanup will continue today after heartache hit the Plum Borough community when a normal morning took a terrifying turn as a home in the Rustic Ridge community exploded. The explosion resulted in the death of five people and devastation to several homes in the area.
The explosion occurred on Sunday morning, shaking the Rustic Ridge Drive neighborhood and sending shockwaves through the area. Nearby windows and doors were blown off when the home exploded, causing damage to surrounding properties. The blast also caused two homes on both sides of the initial explosion to catch fire.
Tragically, five victims were recovered from the scene, including four adults and one child. Their identities have yet to be released by the medical examiner’s office.
Plum Borough Police Chief Lanny Conley reported that three people were taken to the hospital for injuries, with two being released and one remaining in critical condition. In addition, 57 firefighters were treated on the scene for minor injuries.
Peoples Gas President Michael Huwar assured the community that crews had been consistently checking the area for any signs of leakage prior to the explosion. However, an investigation led by the Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s Office is now underway to determine the cause and origin of the fire and explosion.
It is expected that the investigation could take months or even years to complete.
In the midst of the tragedy, the community has come together to support one another and help the first responders. Donations of food and water have been made to aid those affected.
Plum Borough School District Superintendent, Dr. Rick Walsh, expressed his condolences to the school community affected by the tragedy. Support services will be available to students, staff, and community members to ensure they have guidance and comfort during this difficult time.
Previous incidents of home explosions in Plum Borough have also been highlighted. In April of last year, a home on Hialeah Drive was leveled, and in 2008, another home on Mardi Gras Drive exploded. The 2008 explosion was attributed to a corroded gas line that had been hit in 2003.
Resources are available for those in need, including the Renton Volunteer Fire Department, which remains open for assistance. Grief counseling and support are accessible by calling 1-800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUs to 66746. Plum Borough High School will also provide support services in their library for two days, allowing for healing and reflection.
Additionally, the Plum boys’ high school soccer team is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Rustic Ridge families. Plum porch boards made by the Wooden Loft are being sold, and all profits will go towards helping those affected by the explosion.
In response to the tragic event, the Plum Borough has cancelled all planned events for Monday, including the city council meeting, public hearing, and Monday Market.
As the investigation continues, the community remains united in their support for one another and their commitment to healing.
Stay with KDKA for the latest updates on this developing story.
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Jessica Guay joined KDKA as a reporter in February 2021. Before joining KDKA, Jessica was a morning anchor and reporter at WJAC in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She was also an anchor and reporter at WCHS in Charleston, West Virginia, and at WTOV in Steubenville, Ohio.