Official: Cigarette caused blast
September 11, 2013 10:20 AM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Fire Department has determined that a south Philadelphia house explosion was caused by a natural gas leak and a contractor’s cigarette.

Fire Executive Chief William Dell told WCAU-TV on Tuesday that the building contractor working on renovations inside the two-story row house in late July was attempting to light a cigarette with a butane lighter when the flame ignited the natural gas.

The contractor, Steve Barrientos, suffered second- and third-degree burns and seven other people in adjoining homes suffered minor injuries.

The house was leveled and the homes attached on either side had to be demolished.

The blast came less than two months after a collapse at a Philadelphia demolition site that killed six people.

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