Four children were among the five people that were killed in a Thursday night house explosion in Pennsylvania, a report said.
Alana Wood, 13; Jeremiah White, 12; Nehemiah White, 10; Tristan White, 8; and Francine White, 67, perished in the Pottstown blast that obliterated one home and heavily damaged others, officials said Friday, according to WPVI-TV.
Eugene White, 44, and Kristina Matuzsan, 32, were left in critical condition, the station reported. It was unclear how the victims were related.
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation, authorities said.
Neighbor Kim Kulp says her grandchildren were best friends with the young victims.
“Everybody’s going to be affected by this. This is just horrible. It hit too close to home,” Kulp told the station.
“Their kids loved our dog, too, so they would ride their bikes and followed us on walks,” neighbor Rebecca Scott said. “They were really great kids. This family did not deserve what happened to them.”
Stunned neighbors described the violent impact, which sparked a heavy two-alarm fire.
“I really thought it was really loud thunder just nearby, but it shook the area,” Christian Gonzalez told the station.
“The house shook and I thought it was an earthquake. We all came outside to see what was going on,” another neighbor reportedly said.
Classes were canceled Friday in the borough of 22,000, about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families. When schools open again, our counselors and psychologists will be available to provide support,” Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez reportedly wrote in a letter to families.