POTTSTOWN, PA – Nearly two years have passed since a devastating explosion rocked the neighborhood of Chicken Hill, resulting in the tragic deaths of five individuals and leaving two others severely injured. The blast took the lives of Francine White, 67, Alan Wood, 13, Jeremiah White, 12, Nehemiah White, 10, and Tristan White, 8, and left lingering trauma within the community. The injuries sustained by survivors Eugene White and Kristina Matuzsan served as a painful reminder of the tragic event, which has left the entire community reeling.
The investigation into the cause of the explosion has been ongoing, with the Public Utility Commission ruling out natural gas as the source of the blast. However, little progress has been made in the investigation, leading to frustration among local officials and residents who are eager to see the area cleaned up.
Borough Manager Justin Keller shed some light on the reason for the investigation’s delay, citing the involvement of numerous lawyers representing different parties. The legal complexity of the case has resulted in a slow-moving process, with each step requiring approval and coordination among the various attorneys involved.
Attorney Michael A. Budner, representing the estates of the victims and survivors, revealed that a lawsuit has been filed against PECO, AmeriGas, and a manufacturer, resulting in a web of legal complexity involving multiple parties and insurance companies. With around 10 law firms and two to three dozen lawyers involved, the legal proceedings have added significant complexity to the investigation.
As the investigation continues, the next major step involves scanning the site with ground-penetrating radar. However, discussions to schedule the scan and subsequent cleanup efforts have been ongoing, adding further delays to the process.
Despite ongoing efforts to cooperate with agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) and the federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Agency (ATF), information regarding the progress of their investigations has been limited, leaving both the community and the involved parties in the dark about crucial developments.
Amidst the legal and bureaucratic complexities, the parents of the victims continue to grapple with the physical and emotional aftermath of the explosion, with injuries and trauma adding to their grief. The tragic incident has left a lasting impact on the community, as they continue to seek closure and healing in the face of ongoing challenges and uncertainties.