- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

LITTLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A utility company is calling a south-central Pennsylvania house explosion that injured four firefighters - two of them seriously - an isolated incident.

Dispatchers in Adams County said a gas odor in the Littlestown home was reported shortly after 10:30 a.m. Friday, and the blast occurred 19 minutes later.

Fire chief Chris Morgret said two firefighters were in stable condition at Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore and two other firefighters were treated at Gettysburg hospital for minor injuries.

Officials said all had been in the basement when the blast occurred and were able to get out of the house on their own.

Morgret said gas exploded in the home’s HVAC vents, leaving extensive damage, and sparking a fire in combustible materials.

Jeannie Hopwood, who lives down the street, told PennLive.com that she was on her driveway with neighbors when they heard an ambulance and fire trucks arrive.

“All of a sudden it just blew,” Hopwood said. “There was a big bang, and smoke came out the front and back.”

She said she was worried her neighbor may have been at home and then saw injured firefighters coming out of the house.

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania said it conducted a thorough inspection of its system in the neighborhood and “confirmed this was an isolated incident and facilities are operating safely.”

Company president Mark Kempic said the thoughts of officials were with the firefighter and their families as well as the community.

“Our customers did the right thing yesterday, they smelled gas and immediately called us to investigate,” Kempic said Friday.

Morgret said the county had been hard-hit by recent fires, with three fatal blazes in the past two weeks, and he planned to arrange for crisis counselors to meet with firefighters.

“We gotta get back and evaluate everybody - this is going to be straw hat broke the camel’s back,” he said.



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