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Man, 89, and woman, 87, found dead at scene of 'severe' house explosion in Pennsylvania

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. An official said there were “natural gas on site from a private well” and propane from a private well.
Afire truck at the scene of the explosion.
The scene of a "severe" house explosion in Crescent Township, just outside Pittsburgh, on Tuesday morning. Allegheny County / via X

An 89-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman were found dead at the scene of a "severe" house explosion in Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning that damaged two other homes, authorities said.

Officials in Allegheny County received multiple calls at 8:54 a.m. about a house explosion on Riverview Road in Crescent Township, just outside Pittsburgh.

The first unit arrived a few minutes after the call to find the home "completely leveled by some type of explosion," Crescent Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Andrew Tomer said at a news briefing.

He said there was a fire throughout the foundation and a fire alongside a nearby hill.

As authorities searched for the occupants, they found the bodies of the man and the woman, Tomer said. Abigail Gardner, the director of communications for Allegheny County, identified the victims as David Mitchell Jr. and Helen Mitchell.

No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. Tomer told reporters that there were "natural gas on site from a private well" and propane from a private well.

The blast was felt throughout the area, said Tomer, who called the explosion "severe" and "absolutely extreme."

"We all felt and heard the explosion," he said. "Instantly, a column of white smoke up in the air followed by a thick column of black smoke. [It] was a very significant explosion. You could feel it in your chest. You could definitely feel the explosion."

NBC affiliate WPXI of Pittsburgh reported that homes several miles away were damaged. Tomer said at least two other homes suffered damage but did not say how close they were to the explosion site.

CORRECTION (March 14, 2024, 12:55 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the fire chief’s agency. It is the Crescent Township Volunteer Fire Department, not the county.