Allentown explosion sends 10 homes up in flames

Katie Katro Image
Monday, October 21, 2019
Fire spreads to surrounding homes after house explodes in Allentown
Fire spreads to surrounding homes after house explodes in Allentown. George Solis has more on Action News at 10 p.m. on October 20, 2019.

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania -- An explosion rocked an Allentown, Pennsylvania neighborhood causing multiple homes to go up in flames early Sunday morning.

Neighbors called 911 to report a home on the 300 block of West Green Street had exploded around 3:20 a.m.

When fire crews arrived, they found heavy flames shooting from a home around the corner on the 700 block of North Fountain Street.

"I heard something like a truck, something falling out of a truck, and I see all the neighbors looking out and you see the flames come out," said neighbor Sid McKenzie.

A resident of Fountain Street in Allentown captures the moments after a house explodes and collapses, October 20, 2019

"We felt the shake and everything when the explosion went. I came out got my kids, got my step kids ready and we went outside," said resident Jonatan Villanueva.

The house and a neighboring home were engulfed by fire, and the flames were quickly spreading to other neighboring homes on the block.

Villanueva recorded cell phone video as the flames consumed 10 homes.

"I thought my house would catch on fire cause I got a tree in the back," he added.

Police went door-to-door evacuating residents.

Neighbor speaks to Action News following explosion and subsequent fire: Katie Katro reports on Action News Mornings, October 20, 2019
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Other viewer video captured the panic of some residents shortly after the fire started.

"Get mom up. Get out of the house. There's a fire, get up!" could be heard in the recording.

The fire continued to burn for several hours. Flames could be seen shooting through the thick black smoke, billowing above the homes as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

Allentown Fire Chief James weir addresses media following explosion, large fire: as seen on Action News Mornings, October 20, 2019

The Red Cross says they are providing emergency assistance for a dozen displaced families, about 44 people. Eight of those families were affected by the fire. An additional four families are temporarily displaced during demolition that is currently taking place.

Officials said one person who was left unaccounted for after the evacuations was located safely around 9:30 a.m.

A firefighter suffered a shoulder injury while working to contain the blaze.

Officials said the area from Tilghman to Washington streets between 8th and 10th streets will be closed to pedestrians and traffic as the investigation continues.

Fire spreads to neighboring homes after house explodes in Allentown: as seen on Action News Mornings, October 20, 2019