(Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Gina Caciolo


Flattened pair

of rowhouses

& fire to a block

of homes.

47 properties,

including 10

businesses, damaged.

Eight homes

were considered a total loss

(two in the explosion

and six the fire.)

Antonio A.,

he and his wife fled

their home, just clothes

on their backs.

Their home was considered

a total loss.


Five hours until the flow of gas, feeding raging flames, was cut off.

Five people dead.

Elderly couple who lived in the home died. Beatrice H., 74, and her husband, William, 79.

Also, three members of the C. family, including a 4-month-old boy.

About 70 people were likely displaced long-term.

Cadaver dogs found the remains.


Flames, hundreds

of feet into air.

Felt nine miles—

Bethlehem, Pa.


“Everything falling and crashing,

glass, just a nightmare,” said Dorothy Y.

Glass in the shoes

she was going to put on

to leave the house.

“There was no odor.

There was no smell.

Then it was like

all hell broke loose.”


Groping for words,

watching clouds of debris

across the neighborhood:

pink tufts

of insulation,

roof shingles and charred

pieces of mail, some bearing

the names of the dead.


Joe Swope, spokesman

for Reading-based UGI Utilities Inc.,

said a routine leak-detection test in that area

had come up

clean on Tuesday, and there had

been no calls about gas

odors before the disaster.

Swope said there was

no history of leaks

in the immediate area.

Asked about any plans

to replace the main,

the utility spokesman

said that the section

had been deemed safe and reliable.


Military rocket.

“I thought I was back

in Vietnam,” said Leonard H.

Gina Caciolo is from Allentown, Pennsylvania and currently lives in Valencia, California. Her work has previously appeared in Mirage#4/Period(ical), Fast Forward Vol. 2, and Ophelia Street. She is the Founder of Stamped Books, a small press that makes chapbooks, tiny books, and broadsides by hand. She currently attends California Institute of the Arts in the MFA program for Creative Writing, and absolutely loves teaching children both the art of language and of working with their hands.

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