By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three people narrowly escaped death when a house exploded and a fire followed in the Torresdale section of Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. A gas explosion happened at a home under renovation on the 4400 block of Pearson Avenue, just before 1 p.m.

Investigators are trying to determine whether or not the home should be condemned.

The side wall was blown off after the house exploded. It happened just around the corner from the Union League Golf Club.

“I thought a car crash happened,” neighbor Matt MacLaughlin said. “Came running outside, saw the flames, the smoke, it was nuts.”

Video shows the intense fire that followed the house explosion.

Investigators say the house has an apartment on the first floor and another on the second floor.

Three people were inside at the time but they managed to escape unharmed.

“It’s pretty extensive and it is fortunate that we don’t have any injuries,” Philadelphia Fire Assistant Chief Richard Davison said.

Fire crews were called to battle a blaze that resulted from the explosion. Neighbors say renovation work was being done moments before.

Officials have not yet confirmed that, but they’re working to determine whether the home is a “total” loss.

“One of our concerns is not to extinguish the fire until we find a source of the gas,” Davison explained.

Philadelphia Gas Works was called to the scene and turned off gas service on the block.

No evacuations were ordered.


CBS3’s Matt Petrillo contributed to this report.