“Tragic Explosion Claims Lives of Homeowners & Neighbors in Plum, Pennsylvania”

By | August 17, 2023



The co-owner of a home that exploded in Plum, Pennsylvania, has died from injuries sustained in the blast, along with his wife and four other individuals. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, but it is believed to be related to issues with the couple’s hot water tank. The gas company has completed additional system testing and will begin restoring gas service to affected homes. 6abc Philadelphia reported

The photograph displayed above captures the aftermath of a devastating explosion that occurred in Plum, Pennsylvania. Tragically, the co-owner of the house, alongside his wife and four other individuals, lost their lives in the blast. The male co-owner, Paul Oravitz, who sustained severe burns across his body, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday at a hospital in Pittsburgh. The explosion, which took place on Saturday morning, resulted in the destruction of three structures and caused significant damage to numerous other buildings.

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the explosion, with initial reports suggesting that the couple had encountered problems with their hot water tank. The Allegheny County fire marshal’s office, in conjunction with local law enforcement, is leading the inquiry to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.

The explosion unfolded at approximately 10:30 a.m. and claimed the lives of Heather Oravitz, the community development director of Plum, Michael Thomas, the borough manager, and three other residents of the neighborhood: Kevin Sebunia, Casey Clontz, and Clontz’s 12-year-old son, Keegan.

The residential area where the explosion occurred is situated on abandoned mine land, surrounded by shallow oil and gas wells, some of which have been abandoned. Although two active gas-producing wells and a pipeline are located within close proximity to the exploded home, investigations have not yet connected these structures to the blast.

Peoples Gas, the gas utility company serving the area, conducted thorough checks following the incident and confirmed that their system was operating as intended. They have since completed additional system testing in collaboration with the Fire Marshal’s office and the state Public Utility Commission. As a result, gas service restoration efforts are now underway, with company technicians conducting safety checks and relighting customers’ appliances.


Regarding electricity, all homes, except for the three that were destroyed, had their power restored by Sunday afternoon. Gas service has also been reinstated in all homes, except for the loop where the explosion occurred and two adjacent spur roads.

Overall, this tragic incident in Plum, Pennsylvania has claimed the lives of six individuals and caused widespread destruction. Investigations into the cause of the explosion continue as the community attempts to recover and rebuild..

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