Work crews have begun demolishing and removing debris from homes destroyed by a natural gas explosion in South Philadelphia.
Demolition along the 400 block of Daly Street began at 9 a.m. Tuesday. An excavator and dumpster are already on site.
The brick rowhome at 428 Daly Street was reduced to a pile of rubble around 11 a.m. Monday after natural gas ignited as a contractor worked on a hot water heater in the basement of the home, according to Philadelphia Fire Department officials.
That contractor suffered serious burns to 22-percent of his body and is being treated at Temple University Hospital's Burn Center.
"They had the man out here for half-an hour. His skin was just coming off of him. It looked like a monster movie. He was burned really bad," witness Bashira Bey said.
The contractor was last listed in critical condition.
Rowhomes on either side of the explosion site, 426 and 430 Daly Street, were also severely damaged in the blast.
15-year-old Shaquorie Fields, who lives at 430 Daly Street, fell from her second floor bedroom into the kitchen below, according to her mother, Sekeya Fields. Luckily, she suffered only minor injuries.
“She was in her room and her room is on the second floor and when they dug her out, she was in the kitchen,” said Sekeya Fields, whose been living in the home for the past two years. “Everything’s gone. Everything we have is gone.”
In all, eight people were injured in the explosion -- including two infants. All have been released from the hospital except for the contractor.
At the height of the incident, as many as 70 homes were evacuated along Daly and near by Wolf Streets.
As of Tuesday, about a dozen families are being kept from their homes, according to Philadelphia Police.
The Philadelphia Fire Department, Philadelphia Gas Works and Occupational Health and Safety Administration are all investigating the incident.
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