NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

1 Dead, 5 Injured In Tacony Gas Explosion

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As of Wednesday evening, sources told Eyewitness News, three PGW workers — Keith Henderson, Kevin Sommerville and Bill Mahoney — remain in critical but stable condition at Temple University Hospital’s Burn Unit.

According to the firefighters union President, Bill Gault, firefighter Don Pearl was treated and released.

“That was a bad scene last night. We were very lucky,” Gault said.

Natasha Brown reports…

The union president added, a fire lieutenant also suffered minor injuries in the explosion.

Sources confirmed a fourth PGW worker, Gilbert Velasquez, was released from the hospital overnight and is at home recovering from a minor concussion. >>> See: Photos From The Scene

A fifth PGW worker, first reported missing, was later confirmed dead at the scene. On Wednesday, the deceased victim was identified as 19-year-old Mark Keeley. According to his Facebook page, Keeley is an avid sports fan, a recent Cardinal Dougherty grad who just started work with the gas company.

Back at the scene of the blast, it was clear, Keeley’s death was heartbreaking for so many who didn’t even know him.


Georgeanne Huff-Labovits is one of them. She owns a building at the scene of the explosion that could soon be torn down but her concerns remained with the grieving family.

“This family lost somebody and that’s sad. This can all be rebuilt. That kid’s life can’t come back and it’s so sad,” Labovitz added.

Eyewitness News also learned funeral arrangements were finalized. The viewing is set for Friday and the 19-year-old will be laid to rest on Saturday.

The exact cause of the deadly explosion remains under investigation.

Reported By Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3


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  • Catherine Mullen-Battle

    maybe those across the river have pipes that run threw palmyra wether u felt it herd it or jus no it happened it is still a blessing that we r still here to leave comments hopefully they can work it out quickly and pplcan get back into htere homes! God Bless everyone!

    • Bob

      Exactly my thoughts. Seems that most of the comments are whether one heard it or not and that for those that didnt hear it are having a hard time understanding or believing that it happened

  • mark

    Oh my God. is Smith’s Hardware gone? That store is the lifeblood of Joe and Shiela. The video shows several stores gone! This is horrible.

    • R.P.

      Which news/ website did you see that on? Its horrible thinking about all the businesses, employees, and people affected.

      • mark

        the video on this site….. the general area of the fire includes Smith’s.

  • Christine Dunne

    I fealt it at walker and bleigh, shook my front door.

  • Gina

    I love on Marple st and heard a big bang and the house rumbled we didnt know what happen then we heard all the sirens

  • melissa

    I was in a local chuch when it happened. Scariest ever. I thought the building was coming down.

  • Marge Wilson

    I Live on Glenloch Street , a half block from Princeton Avenue. My husband and I heard it and felt it. It shook the house and the other houses on the block.

  • mark

    Theresa, you are as seriously ill woman. people are hurt and all you want to do is tell scared, worried people how much better you are than they. get some help.

    • theresa

      Mark, I am right around the corner..I know what is going on. All I meant was it is pretty strange that most of the comments of people “hearing and feeling” something are from New Jersery! Get over your self!!!

  • Jenn

    Very strange that the locals heard nothing and people across the river heard and felt the explosion.

    • mark

      What’s wrong with you? Everyone on my street came out and wondered what the blazes happened? Everyone felt the explosion! Jenn, do you have a life? Do you have a conscience?

  • g

    I live at frankford & cottman didnt feel or hear anything..

  • mark

    2 explosions in 2 weeks: First, Cinnaminson and now here in Tacony. My friend’s business is probably destroyed.Oh, Lord. Thank God there were no casualties.

  • Ann

    I live around the corner and was in bed watching TV when it occured. The only thing I can compare to explain what it felt like is that it reminded me of when Allied chemical blew up in the eighties. The entire house shook so hard I nearly fell out of my bed. I don’t know what buildings if any are on fire but I can see the smoke and the fire light from my back porch. I pray that everyone in the Disston elderly home that is only feet away from where the explosion is reported to of happened and any people who live in the apartments above several busiiness in the area are alright. Loss of property is horrible but loss of live is tragic

  • Henry

    I live in Willingboro NJ I though I feel something about 830 pm

    • gosia

      Theresa, you are just around the corner, and instead of showing any concern for the people whose lives just got turned upside-down, you insult people who care??

      • theresa

        gosia..who is insulting who in this conversation?? YOU have no idea what kind of concern I am showing!!!!

  • Dan

    Yea, we are over in Riverton.. We thought a tree fell on the house. House shook, all our neighbors came out too.. I can see orange sky over near the bridge in Philly..

  • tom

    i smelled gas it when i got off i-95 at cottman ave around 7 pm. i live cottman and the blvd and heard nothing.

  • mirka

    we felt it too all the way in palmyra! crazy! there was an explosion just last week somewhere in the area and now another… wow

  • Sarah

    According to the scanner everyone has been accounted for civilian..gas workers…and firemen. Good news.

    • mark

      very good news!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave

    3 PGW and 1 firefighter were taken to the hospital, all firefighters and PGW workers are accounted for.

  • Tim

    i wish the city took more care of its self and maybe this could have been avoided.

    • mark

      Dude……. life is risky!

  • mark

    I had pulled over 3 blocks away to call one of the business owners of that area, a friend. that’s when the explosion rocked the neighborhood. It actually moved my car! The street behind the buildings lit up,

  • Joe Ormsby


  • R.P.

    It was in Tacony. Disston & Torresdale, near the 7-11. Neighbors with cable are reporting loss of service. Many local streets are blocked. We felt the blast just after 8:30pm. Some residents were/ are being evacuated to the Disston Rec Center.

  • mark

    tacony was 8:34 pm. I was there at the exlposion site at 8:31 pm.

  • Jenn

    All the way across the river really? Wow, I live about 2 miles away from there in mayfair and didnt hear a thing

  • mark

    yeah….we just has another gas explosion on the7700 block of Torresdale!

  • Jeanette

    I live across the river in Palmyra. I could feel and I heard the explosion. My house shook and the windows rattled.

    • theresa

      really jeanette…thats hard to believe when i live 5 blocks away and heard NOTHING….

      • Brad

        I live in Palmyra as well – right on the river. I heard a bang and my bed even shook!

      • Raymond

        i the same amount of blocks heard and saw nothing till i saw cbs3 breaking news.

      • Jeanette

        I know! It was unbelievable! I didn’t know what it was. I thought something hit our building.

      • Michelle

        Theresa were u under a rock???? That was THE WORST thing i have ever felt & heard…sooo scary…& i live 3 blocks away!!!! OHH and another thing when the house in Cinnaminson exploded last week I aslo heard that & felt it as well….sooo YES people across the river can hear & see the fire & explosion!!!!

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