City Still Not Sure Why Fitler Square Home Exploded

Almost two months after a rowhome on Naudain Street exploded, Peco and PGW both say they are not at fault.

The May 1 explosion that leveled two Naudain Street rowhomes and damaged part of a condo complex at 23rd and Naudain remains under investigation. In this case, “remains under investigation” means “it appears we have no clue why a house exploded.”

Some facts are clear: Before the explosion, a resident called 911 after her boyfriend’s carbon monoxide detector went off. Firefighters examined levels that were off the charts of their CO meters; buildings on the block were evacuated. Eventually, one house exploded.

The fire marshal’s report was not conclusive. And both Peco and PGW say they are not at fault here. “Their careful explanations increasingly seemed to be framed with a legal defense in mind,” the Inquirer’s Andrew Maykuth writes.

  • “We’re confident our product was not involved,” said Barry O’Sullivan, a PGW spokesman.
  • “We do not believe the levels of carbon monoxide emitted from the fire in front of 2300 could have caused the explosion in 2310 Naudain Street,” PECO spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez said.
  • “It is unsettling to think that the scientific tools at our disposal might not be precise enough to predict and prevent another catastrophe,” Councilman Kenyatta Johnson wrote in a letter.

Two firefighters were hurt in the blast; one remains off duty.

May 1: What We Saw at the Big Overnight Fire Near Fitler Square