POTTSTOWN, Pa. – At least four people were killed Thursday night after a home explosion rocked a Pennsylvania city, authorities said.
The explosion happened shortly after 8 p.m. EDT in Pottstown, located about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia, WPVI-TV reported.
Pottstown Borough Manager Justin Keller confirmed that two people were hospitalized for unknown injuries and two others may still be missing, according to the television station.
“I heard a huge explosion,” Russell Noll, a neighbor, told WCAU-TV. “I thought a bomb went off. I thought somebody dropped a bomb somewhere. And then all the sirens started going off. And it wasn’t too far from where I lived. So I started walking towards where the sirens and ambulance were going and it was just a huge explosion around the whole area.”
Another area resident, Katie Washabaugh, told WTXF-TV that her entire building shook.
“We thought that either an earthquake was happening or that someone crashed into the building,” Washabaugh told the television station.
It was not clear Thursday evening what had caused the explosion or how many homes had been damaged, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Keller declined to take questions from reporters and said officials would next provide an update Friday afternoon, according to the newspaper.
Officials have not released the names or ages of the victims.
In a statement, Pottstown Schools Superintendent Stephen Rodriquez said schools will be closed Friday for students and staff, and he urged residents to avoid the area if possible.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families,” he said, noting counselors will be available when schools reopen.