Row home collapses after possible gas explosion in Point Breeze

- Police are investigating following a row home collapse in Point Breeze Monday evening.

Demolition workers were heaving debris from the 1214 South 20th Tuesday morning. A spokesperson for the city says they were making the building safe for investigators to enter.

"That's when the house went boom.  The whole house I've never seen it before just fell apart I was standing right here," neighbor Vivian Black told FOX 29. 

Vivian Black says she had just spoken to the building's owner, Peter Ash, when his row home blew at 7:30 p.m. Monday night.

57-year-old Ash and his 12-year-old son playing a video game at the time made it out largely unhurt

Explosive experts with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, city L&I and the Fire Marshall are all investigating the cause of the collapse.

A spokesperson for Philadelphia Gas Works tells FOX 29 none of its readings show gas was involved in the incident and there had not been a PGW customer at the building for a couple years.

Property records show Peter Ash owes the city nearly $16,000 dollars in back property taxes. 

A spokesperson for the mayor says the city has repeatedly tried to get Ash to pay up, including listing the property for tax sale. It's now under appeal.

The 17th Police District, which is next door to the structure is empty and gas and electricity to the area has been cut.

Vivian Black says her faith has been strengthened.

"She called me and stopped me from going there.  That was nothing but God," she said.

FOX 29 attempted to reach out to Ash, but his line was continuously busy. 

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