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Ninth Ave. Explosion Still Under Investigation

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
August 03, 2022
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

City officials hope to have an answer soon whether or not it will be possible to salvage a building that was damaged Tuesday morning by an apparent natural gas explosion.

An Allegheny County spokeswoman said Wednesday that investigators are still working to determine the cause of the blast that caused severe damage to The Common Grounds Building.

Emergency personnel believe the explosion was triggered after two contractors installing a wheelchair ramp at the rear of the building struck a gas line just before 8 a.m.

The contractors, whose names have not been officially released, were hospitalized.

The explosion displaced a variety of small start-up businesses — many of them owned by women and minority entrepreneurs — that were housed in the building as part of the Penn State Mon Valley LaunchBox business incubator.

Also displaced was the Ninth Street Clinic, a free medical clinic that provides check-ups and other services to people without health insurance.

Both the clinic and the LaunchBox have vowed to relocate and resume operations as soon as possible.

The Common Grounds Building — formerly the YWCA of McKeesport — sustained heavy damage in Tuesday’s incident, with windows destroyed and walls shifted.

Originally published August 03, 2022.

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