Three Dead, Two Missing After Natural Gas Explosion in Allentown, Pa.

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A natural gas explosion in Allentown, Pa. killed three people and leveled two houses Wednesday night.

The blast destroyed at least eight homes and damaged sixteen others. Two people are missing as of midday Thursday. The dead include a couple in their 70s and a 4-month-old baby.

More than 500 people were evacuated from surrounding homes, but have since been allowed to return to their properties. Stopping the the fire was delayed by snow and ice covering the broken gas line feeding the flames.

The day before the explosion, a routine check of the local gas main the day before found no problems with the system. (via AP)

(More on TIME.com: Why disasters are getting worse.)

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