Giant Explosion Rocks Allentown

2 missing after gas blast destroys homes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2011 2:02 AM CST
Updated Feb 10, 2011 4:00 AM CST
Giant Explosion Rocks Allentown
A fire rages out of control after an explosion near the intersection of 13th and Allen Streets in Allentown, Pa.    (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

(Newser) – A huge gas explosion in the eastern Pennsylvania city of Allentown last night destroyed two homes, set several other buildings ablaze, and forced the evacuation of two entire city blocks. An elderly couple who lived in one of the destroyed homes is unaccounted for, as are at least four others, and the chief of the city's emergency medical services says they are dealing with a "mass casualty incident," the Morning Call reports.

The blaze was put out early this morning, more than 7 hours after it began, delayed by the difficulty of digging through packed layers of snow and ice to a ruptured underground gas line that was feeding the flames, AP reports (Read more Allentown explosion stories.)

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