Plum Pennsylvania House Explosion: In response to the tragic explosion that occurred in Plum over the weekend, Governor Josh Shapiro has instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to initiate a thorough investigation.

Governor Shapiro has taken action to direct the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the explosion that resulted in the loss of six lives in Plum last weekend.

A statement from Will Simons, a representative of Governor Shapiro, conveyed the Governor’s deep concern regarding the devastating house explosion in Plum, which claimed the lives of six residents of Pennsylvania and caused extensive destruction to multiple homes. The Governor and the First Lady are offering their prayers and unwavering support to the affected individuals and the Plum community during this challenging time.

According to officials from Governor Shapiro’s office, the DEP’s investigation will focus on identifying potential sources of methane gas in proximity to the affected homes, including landfills, sewer lines, gas wells, and coal mining activities. The DEP plans to utilize handheld gas detectors to pinpoint gas presence in soil or structures and, if warranted, proceed with gas sampling. The agency’s inspectors have already begun collecting samples for laboratory analysis.

In an official statement, the DEP announced that its personnel have initiated assessments of abandoned wells and will persist in their search for potential natural gas sources.

The agency’s statement confirmed that the Plum Borough area’s coal seam has been examined, revealing no nearby shafts or drill/bore holes in the vicinity of the explosion. As such, the likelihood of the explosion being linked to a gas issue from a local abandoned mine is considered to be “very low.”

DEP Secretary Rich Negrin asserted, “Our dedicated emergency response team, along with geologists and members of the Oil and Gas District Operations, will remain actively engaged on-site in the coming days, leveraging all pertinent resources within our jurisdiction to thoroughly investigate this matter.”

The DEP will also extend its investigation to unconventional well sites near the Rustic Ridge neighborhood and will scrutinize natural gas gathering pipelines in the area, as stipulated by the Shapiro administration.

Although it remains unclear whether tests have been carried out in the Rustic Ridge neighborhood where the explosion occurred, the Shapiro administration has confirmed that Governor Shapiro has engaged in discussions with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and is advocating for a comprehensive and independent inquiry into the explosion.

In collaboration with the Allegheny County Fire Marshal and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the PUC has dispatched pipeline safety engineers to the explosion site in Rustic Ridge, as reported by our partners at the Trib.

A spokesperson representing Peoples Gas assured that the company’s teams are actively cooperating with the ongoing investigation led by the Allegheny County Fire Marshal and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. They are committed to offering all necessary resources to support the investigation, including conducting additional tests on their system.

DEP Secretary Negrin acknowledged the profound impact of the incident on the Plum community and expressed the agency’s solidarity with the families affected by this tragic event.

While the Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s Office previously noted that the exploded home had been experiencing “hot water tank issues,” no official cause for the explosion has been officially confirmed at this time.

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