One person was killed in an explosion and fire in Brentwood, Pennsylvania on February 1. The body of Michael Festa, 56, was recovered by first responders outside the home, located at 24 Hillman St., by first responders who arrived around 12:30 p.m.
Matt Brown, chief of Allegheny County’s emergency services, told local media that they were still trying to determine if Festa made it out of the house or if he was thrown by the force of the blast. Neighbors said the explosion made a huge sound and people working in the nearby business district said they felt its vibration. A second house caught fire after the explosion and a garage between the two homes was completely destroyed.
Neighbors told KDKA News that Festa was a friendly neighbor and popular bartender at an establishment on the South Side. He is survived by his wife and two children.
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) February 2, 2018
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blast. “Gas appliances and propane tanks are frequent sources of house explosions,” said Fred Pritzker, an attorney who represents clients with personal injury and wrongful death cases resulting from explosions. Pritzker, whose firm has won more than 70 multimillion settlements for clients, says a thorough examination of the evidence is crucial in fire and explosion investigations.
The gas company was called to the scene and secured the line as firefighters from ten departments fought the blaze, two of them were treated for minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.
This is the 27th house fire fatality to be reported in Pennsylvania so far this year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. With 28 house-fire deaths reported so far, Texas is the only state that has suffered more fire deaths in 2018.