PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Officials have recovered the body of a second victim who was killed in a row home explosion and fire in South Philadelphia Saturday afternoon. Fire crews say the victim’s body was located while searching through the rubble from the explosion which happened on the 1400 block of South 8th Street around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
The first victim’s body was recovered on Friday. It’s unclear if anyone else could be trapped in the debris at this time.
“I feel like stuff like this happens a lot but never in your neighborhood, never to people who you know and see everyday. It’s sad,’ said Allie Osipov. “It’s really scary.”
A massive fire erupted from the explosion, causing three row homes to collapse and two others are in danger of collapsing due to severe damage.
When fire crews arrived on the scene Thursday, they spotted one person in the rubble. However, because of the growing fire and a second collapse, Thiel said crews were unable to rescue the person.
During the fire fight, another person was reported missing by family members. That person was believed to be in an adjacent house.
“We live and regrettably sometimes die to make rescues and it’s tough for us when we can’t,” Thiel said.
Officials still haven’t said what caused the explosion, but people in the neighborhood reported smelling gas.
Gas was temporarily shut off in the area and Philadelphia Gas Works tweeted on Saturday saying gas had been restored to about 10 people who were without service because of the investigation.
Update on South 8th St: @MyPGW crews have restored utility service to the 10 occupied properties that were without service. @MyPGW crews will remain on scene to continue our work and assist @PhillyFireDept, @PhilaOEM and all other responding agencies.
— Philadelphia Gas Works (@MyPGW) December 21, 2019
Sixty people were displaced and at least a dozen homes were damaged by debris. Thiel is asking for patience from the neighborhood.
“If you live in that block, there’s still going to be some uncertainty about when you can go home, whether you can go home, what you’re going to find when you go home,” the fire commissioner said.
Thiel also applauded the heroic acts of many neighbors on the block who jumped into action.
“As we learn more and more about all the things that were happening beyond the incident, we really saw the best of Philadelphia yesterday in the wake of this tragic event. We had neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping friends, families helping families, and a lot of folks who actually risked their lives to try to rescue complete strangers,” Thiel said.
The incident has crippled the neighborhood.
“It’s insane,” said Vincent Termini Jr., the owner of Termini Brothers Bakery. “Streets are closed, our trucks have a hard time getting out. You’re just trying to get through it.”
A major obstacle that crews are dealing with is that a sinkhole may be forming in the road so they cannot bring in heavy equipment until it’s secured.
A timeline has not been given on when people on the block will be allowed back home.
CBS3’s Howard Monroe contributed to this report.