by Kevin Dicciani
“It’s like a war zone down here,” said Rina Fesnak, a Chestnut Hill resident, about the aftermath of the gas explosion that occurred at an apartment building on the corner of Benezet and Ardleigh streets in the early morning of Monday, Feb. 16.
The explosion, which occurred around 1:30 a.m., blew out the building’s windows and ejected bricks and debris into the streets and the surrounding area. None of the building’s 10 residents – 9 adults and one child – were injured in the blast.
The noise from the sheer force of the explosion awakened neighbors, some of whom thought it was a car accident. Fesnak, who lives on Benezet St., said she thought a car slid on the ice and crashed into a house.
Neighbors only learned of its true cause when they stepped out of their doors and smelled gas fumes lingering in the air.
Although there is still an ongoing investigation, PGW believes the explosion was caused by a crack in a 6-inch iron gas main.
When the Local went to the scene on Feb. 18, Benezet and Ardleigh streets were closed to through traffic and only pedestrians were permitted to travel the roads, where at least 20 workers from PGW were jackhammering and digging up the asphalt to access and inspect the gas line, which Fesnak was told would be completely replaced.
There is no word as to when the reconstruction would be completed. PGW could not be reached for further comment.