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Columbia Gas Holds Town Hall With Homeowners In Washington County After Natural Gas Explosion

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- Columbia Gas and local leaders held a town hall meeting on the recent natural gas explosion in Washington County.

The explosion happened in the 100 block of Park Lane, near Trinity High School, on July 31. A home was destroyed in the explosion.

Five people were transported to the hospital.

Columbia Gas CEO Michael Huwar said the company is trying to rebuild trust back in a community impacted by their negligence.

The meeting was the first time since the explosion that homeowners talked face to face with Columbia Gas.

The company took responsibility for the explosion, saying the house wasn't listed on the project's blueprints and they failed to catch it.

The house should have had a pressure regulator installed.

"There's a lot of healing that has to happen in this neighborhood to regain our trust and we pledge to do that," Huwar said during Tuesday's meeting at the North Franklin Volunteer Fire Company

Huwar said the company intends to make it right with every single person impacted.

That includes helping Amberia Kaempf, a single mom who lost almost everything. She lived directly in front of where the explosion happened, and her home was condemned.

"It's so frustrating," Kaempf said. "You're entire life just gets turned upside down because of it. You no longer have a home to go to after work every day."

The township lifted the cease-and-desist order for Columbia Gas as long as they provide weekly updates on projects and do so in a safe manner.

The company plans to resume work in the neighborhood immediately.

"They seem to be diligent and truthful in their manner, but the proof is in the pudding," Errol Sambuco said. "Words are one thing, and actions to take care of everybody in reasonable in a timely and safely manner."

There is a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Debbie Braden on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at American Legion Post 175.

Braden's home exploded during the natural gas incident.

The all-you-can-eat dinner will have an auction and a 50/50 raffle. It cost $10 per person, though children 8 years and younger are free.

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