Image released of Wissinoming house explosion suspect
PHILADELPHIA - July 8, 2013 (WPVI) -- Police say a man trying to steal copper piping, sparked a gas leak and house explosion in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia.
The explosion happened around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at 4712 Howell Street.
Witnesses placed 35-year-old Michael Migliaccio at the scene at the time of the incident.
Migliaccio, who also goes by the name Joseph Rumor, was arrested and charged in the incident, police saying he cut copper pipes inside the home, which led to a natural gas leak and subsequently the explosion.
Chopper 6 HD was overhead as police and fire crews responded to the scene.
"When I actually opened the door, I saw so much smoke. I look across street and the house was completely destroyed," said Myrna Rivera.
Inside with her two young children, Rivera felt her house shake and saw the glass windows of the house across the street explode.
She immediately called her husband.
"My wife called me on the phone like, 'Yo the house across the street just blew up and it came down like a pancake," said Ernest Morales, neighbor.
Two people suffered minor injuries, after stepping in broken glass near the scene.
By Saturday night the 15-20 residents that were evacuated were all back inside including next door neighbor Ruth Lugo.
Lugo's friends and family remained by her side.
"She's still a little nervous from all of this," said Candice Bohroquez.
The other home next door suffered some structural damage.
Neighbors say the home that exploded had been vacant for about one year and had recently had renovations done. The owners were trying to sell it.
Residents also say it has been the target of thieves in the past.
"They steal pipes all the time because when the house was vacant before they were in there and they stole everything," said Joe Sindone.
Officials say it may take a few days for the scene to be cleared.
Meanwhile Migliaccio is charged with Causing a Catastrophe, Risking a Catastrophe, Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief, Theft - Unlawful Taking, Theft - Receiving Stolen Property, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Criminal Conspiracy.
Migliaccio was arraigned on Sunday and is currently being held on $200,000 bail.
philadelphia, explosion, wissinoming, gas leak, local/state
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