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Residents Describe Explosion Scene In South Philadelphia; Come To Aid Of Neighbors

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eight people, including three children, were injured following a row home explosion and collapse in South Philadelphia Monday morning.

Neighbors all described it the same way. They said it felt like an earthquake when the explosion happened and emotions were running wild.

There was fear, there was uncertainty, and people really did not know what would happen next. But in the midst of all of that fear, there was one very brave man who ran into the rubble and helped save a life.

Erik Lasalle says he is no hero, but what he did is nothing short of heroic.

READ: Complete Coverage

Lasalle was sitting in the car less than 20 feet away from the home that exploded on Daly street Monday morning. His first instinct was to run towards the home, and in the far distance, he could hear a man’s screams for help coming from deep beneath the pile of debris.

“I just heard screaming help, help I’m burning, help, help, help,” said Lasalle.

Lasalle said he ran in the rubble. It was hot, dusty and he knew very dangerous, but he reached in with both hands and pulled the man out.

VIEW: Photos From The Scene

“He was burned very badly. His arms were burned very bad, skin was coming off, blood, there was blood everywhere,” he said.

Lasalle went back to the scene and started recording this cell phone video, the devastation is clear. In the video you can see Bonnie Cender’s white Kia buried  beneath rubble. She parked it there only hours before the collapse happened.

SHARE: Your iWitness Pix

“The reason I’m upset is because it was the last thing my husband and I purchased together,” said Cender.

Her husband died a year ago.

“We did everything together and that was the last major purchase that we made together. It is so hard, you know,” she said.

The car is gone, but memories will last forever. Meanwhile, Erik Lasalle says he will never forget what he saw here today, but he is happy that he was there to help save a life.

“I believe I was there at that moment in time to be there for him, to help him out of that,” he said.

Lasalle was not the only neighbor who rushed towards that house when the explosion happened. There were a lot of neighbors that helped.

One neighbor told Eyewitness News, “that’s just the way we do things in South Philadelphia, neighbors always willing to help neighbors.”

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