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Authorities Investigate House Explosion, Fire In Oakland

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) -- Police and fire marshals have been trying to determine what caused an empty house in Pittsburgh's Oakland section to explode, blowing massive holes in both sides of the older two-story home.

The explosion and two-alarm fire were reported around 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the 3300-block of Dawson Street.

Fire Battalion Chief Jim Dolan says the damage was so severe that the house was in danger of collapsing by the time firefighters arrived.

According to initial reports, investigators suspect there might have been a problem with old gas lines.

No injuries were reported.

Four University of Pittsburgh students lived in the home; however, they had all gone home for Thanksgiving break.

However, the homeowner, Carol Krowitz-Ward, stood stunned in front of the house.

"I owned this house, it was a beautiful duplex," she said.

"It had old molding and stain glass windows, the structure was beautiful," she added.

Krowitz-Ward bought the house 17 years ago and has since moved to Colorado, but was in town visiting for Thanksgiving and watched it go up in flames.

The 100-year-old structure ended up that way after neighbors say they heard glass breaking, a loud boom and saw flames everywhere.

Neighbor Cassi Shaffer said the force was so great, it dented her brick wall.

Authorities continue to investigate the cause.

The home was totally demolished.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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