Violent gas explosion heavily damages sports complex at The Galleria
LARRY NEFF/TIMES NEWS Firefighters stand outside sports complex at the Galleria in Lake Harmony on Friday morning after a propane gas explosion occurred. One person was inside the structure at the time and had minor injuries, it was reported.
A violent explosion Friday morning heavily damaged the sports complex at the Galleria resort and convention center in Lake Harmony.
The propane explosion sent a "ball of fire" that flew past a man working at the bowling alley at the time, said Lake Harmony Fire Chief Ralph C. Lennon. He said part of the man's face was singed, but he declined medical transport.
The blast occurred at about 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Nobody else was in the complex, which is located behind the hotel rooms of the Galleria.
Although there are doors blown off on the interior and exterior of the building, and a concrete floor is buckled on the second floor, there was no structural damage.
Lennon said the bowling alley was raised about a half foot and the skin of the building has some cracks.
Responding to the scene were members of the Lake Harmony, Albrightsville, and Kidder Township Fire Departments, as well as Lake Harmony Ambulance.
"The call came in as a roof collapse," said Lennon. "Fortunately, there was no real fire. It was a propane explosion."
He said he considered calling for mutual aid from other departments, but "when we arrived I saw there was no fire. There was severe damage inside. There were walls blown out."
He said the priority was to make sure nobody else was inside the building and to check if any structural damages occurred.
A structural engineer and the township's building inspector checked the structure and have deemed it to be safe.
The situation was especially concerning for the fire department. Next Sept. 21-24, Lake Harmony and Albrightsville Fire Departments will be hosting the 132nd State Firemen's Association convention and parade, with the convention set for the Galleria. The parade route on the 24th will begin at the Lake Harmony Fire Company and proceed to South Lake Drive, disbanding at the Galleria.
Lennon assured that the main hotel and even the water park are not affected by the propane gas explosion. The gym is separated from the main hotel by a breezeway.
The cause of the explosion reportedly is still under investigation.