WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. — A Westmoreland home was damaged after a furnace explosion. The damage included a blown-out window, side paneling stripped from the home and debris scattered across the yard, but experts shared it could have been worse and said other homeowners are at risk too.
On Wednesday at 8 a.m., fire crews were called to Cree Drive in Hempfield Township for what appeared to be a home explosion. Upon arrival, they found a home with its windows blown out and side paneling removed. The homeowner and occupants were fortunately all unharmed and made it out safely.
The Hempfield Deputy Fire Chief released this statement:
“We can confirm that there were no injuries and there is no danger to the community. The exact cause remains under investigation. I currently do not have any additional information to provide,” said John M. Storey, Jr., Deputy Fire Chief of the Hempfield Fire Department.
This afternoon, Channel 11 News spoke with the homeowner, who shared with us that he believed the incident was caused by a clogged furnace duct; something experts say unfortunately is far too common.
“You should have a qualified company check your system out every year, especially if it’s a gas burning device or oil or propane,” said Dave Donahue, the owner of Donahue’s Heating & Cooling.
Donahue said he sees homeowners daily who have skipped their yearly check and find themselves needing repairs or replacements.
“It’ll work for winter, but the big thing, is it safe?” questioned Donahue.
Donahue said faulty or old furnaces can lead to fires, carbon monoxide leaks, or explosions like this one. He also shared with Channel 11 News what that looks like.
“If a chimney were to back up and it’s not drafting properly, instead of your combustion going up, the fluid is coming into the home, which can be a very dangerous situation,” said Donahue.
Donahue said some cautionary tips for homeowners to live by are simple: get your furnace checked every season before you use it, keep your air filter clean, and if you have an issue call a professional.
The township has posted that the home is unsafe for human occupancy, but insurance engineers will have to determine if the house is inhabitable.
©2022 Cox Media Group