“Co-owner of Home Explosion in Plum, PA Dies, Along with Wife and Four Others”

By | August 16, 2023



Paul Oravitz, the co-owner of a home that exploded in Plum, Pennsylvania, has died from injuries sustained in the blast. The explosion, which also killed his wife and four others, is still under investigation. The couple was reportedly having issues with their hot water tank. The area where the explosion occurred is surrounded by abandoned oil and gas wells, but none have been identified as being involved in the blast. Peoples Gas has completed system testing and will begin restoring gas service to affected homes. Electrical service has been restored to all but three destroyed homes. The Northern Virginia Daily reported

The image provided depicts a devastating explosion that occurred in Plum, Pennsylvania, resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of several structures. Tragically, the co-owner of the affected property, Paul Oravitz, has now succumbed to his injuries, joining his wife and four other individuals who also perished in the blast. Mr. Oravitz, who suffered severe burns across his body, passed away on Wednesday while receiving treatment at a hospital in Pittsburgh. The incident, which occurred last weekend, remains under investigation, with authorities focusing on the couple’s reported issues with their hot water tank as a potential cause. The Allegheny County fire marshal’s office, in collaboration with local law enforcement, leads the ongoing investigation.

The explosion, which took place shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, claimed the lives of Heather Oravitz, 51, the community development director for Plum, as well as Michael Thomas, 57, the Plum Borough Manager. Additionally, three other individuals from the neighborhood lost their lives: Kevin Sebunia, 55; Casey Clontz, 38; and Clontz’s young son, Keegan, aged 12.

The residential development where the explosion occurred is situated on abandoned mine land, surrounded by shallow oil and gas wells, some of which have been abandoned. While two gas-producing wells are within a proximity of 1000 feet (305 meters) from the exploded home, and a pipeline runs behind the development, there is no confirmation that these structures played a role in the blast.

Peoples Gas, the utility company responsible for the area, has conducted thorough checks and confirmed that their system was functioning as intended. Following additional system testing conducted in collaboration with the Fire Marshal’s office and the state Public Utility Commission, the company is now able to commence the restoration of gas service. Technicians from the company will be visiting each residence to perform safety checks and relight customers’ appliances.

Regarding the restoration of other utilities, electrical service was restored to all homes, except for the three that were destroyed, by Sunday afternoon. Gas service has been reinstated in all homes except for the area where the explosion occurred and two adjoining roads.


This tragic incident has deeply affected the community of Plum, Pennsylvania, and investigations are ongoing to determine the exact cause of the explosion and any potential factors that contributed to this devastating event..

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