WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today issued the following statement on the natural gas explosion earlier this week that claimed the lives of five Allentown residents:

“With search efforts for those who remained unaccounted complete, the people of Allentown now know the tragic scope of this Wednesday’s natural gas explosion. Five residents of the city lost their lives in the disaster, including three generations of a family that recently arrived in our area from the Dominican Republic and an elderly couple who first moved to 13th Street in the 1960’s. Both families exemplified the hardworking and community-oriented character of today’s Allentown. My thoughts and prayers are with the Cruz and Hall families, whose loved ones will be greatly missed.  

“Following the explosion, my staff and I offered our support to city, county and state officials who would lead the recovery efforts. It is clear local first responders and relief agencies were incredibly prepared for this emergency, and have conducted their response operations in an extremely thorough and professional manner. While legislative business has kept me in Washington, DC this week, I intend to visit the site upon my return to the Lehigh Valley tomorrow.

“Although individuals injured by the explosion have received necessary medical attention and families displaced by the blast have begun returning to their homes, relief efforts are far from complete. I encourage any local residents who were affected by the tragedy and require assistance with a matter involving a federal agency to contact my District Office in Bethlehem.”