Flash explosion injures two residents

A couple who had just moved into a house on the 1500 block of Second Street were taken by ambulance to UPMC Altoona with blunt force injuries and burns after they tried to light the furnace, causing a flash explosion Wednesday afternoon, according to city Fire Chief Tim Hileman.

The injuries appeared to be minor but included face burns and singed eyebrows and eyelashes for the man, Hileman said.

The flash blew him back and blew off ductwork leading to the flue, Hileman said.

The previous occupants of the house had turned the furnace off, but there doesn’t appear to be any attempt to cause harm, Hileman said.

Authorities were trying to determine whether the furnace malfunctioned or the couple used an incorrect procedure to relight it, Hileman said.

Workers turned off utilities to the house after the accident, Hileman said.

Police were investigating, he said.

There was no obvious exterior structural damage to the house.

The names of the injured man and woman were not available immediately after the accident.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.