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Explosion levels Philadelphia row house; infant among six injured

A South Philadelphia row home exploded and collapsed Monday, sending six people to the hospital and shifting the routine of the day into a panic-stricken morning for neighbors.

The injured include four adults, a 15-year-old girl and an infant. Additional rescue units have been called to the scene in the 400 block of Daly Street.

Laura McColgan lives around the corner. "I'm still shaking," she said, recounting her experience.

"I was upstairs brushing my teeth. I heard a very loud noise. Not being sure what it was, I came downstairs and went out my back door," McColgan said. "I went outside and saw everyone running around the corner. I saw the building down, saw the smoke and smelled the horrible smell of gas as well."

Danielle James was leaning out her second-story window, talking to a neighbor at the moment of the blast.

"I thought somebody dropped a bomb in the middle of my block! It went boom! And then you just seen glass fly from over the roof,"

James said. "I went through every room and took my kids and just said, 'Get out now!'"

James said her husband mentioned last night that he smelled gas.

Emergency crews shut off traffic in the immediate area and went door-to-door to get people out of their homes, as a precaution. Utility crews are on the scene. Daly Street has been evacuated and six homes on Wolf Street, which is just South of Daly Street.

"It definitely was an explosion," McColgan said.

The home, at 426 Daly Street looks shredded. Adjoining homes are also damaged.

Fire officials confirmed that it was an explosion anda that they are investigation whether it was caused by a gas leak. They say a private contractor was working in the basement of the home when the explosion occurred. He was burned and taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Some of the victims are from neighboring homes. The baby, who neighbors say is 6 or 7-months old, lives at 428 Daly and the teenager, lives at 430 Daly.

Daly Street sits in a residential area of South Philadelphia, populated by row homes.