The Dunmore neighborhood rocked by a natural gas explosion Thursday has experienced at least two others dating back more than a century.

Possibly the deadliest residential gas explosion in the area’s history, and certainly one of the most calamitous, happened shortly after 3 a.m. on March 20, 1912, at 242 Elm St. That is a few blocks from 413 Smith St., the site of Thursday’s blast.

Local History Blog: Deadly blast claims 9

Nine members of a family were killed when gas leaking from a main believed damaged by a mine cave-in seeped into the basement of their two-story home and came into contact with a burning oil lamp or stove, according to Times-Tribune archives.

The resulting explosion splintered the house and touched off a fire that destroyed the home next door.

A story in The Scranton Times identified the dead as Mrs. Jean Batiste Coviello and six of her children — two of them adults and four others between the ages of 3 and 14 — along with two grandchildren.

One child, a girl, was found unconscious in the limbs of a tree 50 feet from the house, where she had been tossed by the blast. She died later at a hospital.

The force of the explosion or flying debris badly damaged more than 20 other homes in the neighborhood. Dozens of neighbors were thrown from their beds by the concussion.

On Feb. 4, 1929, an explosion shattered a two-story, two-family house at 301 Smith St., just down the street from Wednesday’s 413 Smith St. explosion.

“The entire front of the house was rent asunder, and the front porch was torn away from the house and fell to the ground,” The Scranton Times reported.

Ralph Del Rosso and his wife were asleep on the first floor of the home with their two children, including a 10-month-old, when the baby’s wails awakened Mrs. Del Rosso.

Realizing the house was filling with gas, she hurriedly roused the family. They were still inside and thrown to the floor when the explosion happened but escaped serious injury, as did the family on the second floor.

The gas main break in that case was also blamed on a mine cave-in.

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Explosions in Lackawanna County*

1. Pittston Avenue and Elm Street, Scranton

June 28, 1897

2. Coviello home, Dunmore

March 20, 1912

Nine killed

3. Scranton Street and 9th Avenue, Scranton

Jan. 10, 1919

One killed

4. Woodlawn and Adams avenues, Scranton

Feb. 24, 1924

One killed

5. Scott Street, Carbondale

Jan. 30, 1930

Three killed

6. Pignitato home, Dunmore (Gasoline)

Jan. 11, 1930

Three killed

7. M.L. Benovitz, Dickson City

Sept. 22, 1931

8. Corsceletti home, Archbald

July 22, 1932

One killed

9. Hawthorne Street, Scranton

Sept. 29, 1932

10. Carbondale

March 18, 1957

11. Prospect Avenue Rooming House, Scranton

Oct. 26, 1957

12. Jackson Street, Scranton

Oct. 23, 1958

13. Attorney Joseph McGraw’s home Carbondale

Nov. 18, 1960

14. Florey’s Barbershop, Boulevard Avenue

Jan. 4, 1962

15. Vandling

Aug. 8, 1962

One killed

16. Price Street and Garfield Avenue, Scranton

Jan. 30, 1963

17. Sheridan home, Jermyn

May 23, 1968

18. Pollack home


Sept. 21, 1969

19. 527-29 Throop St., Dunmore

April 25, 1970

One killed

20. Penn Furniture Warehouse, Lackawanna Avenue

Feb. 21, 1972

Twelve injured, 1 killed

21. Strony home, Peckville

Nov. 11, 1972

22. Pennypacker Avenue, Scranton/Dickson City line

Nov. 11, 1972

Five homes destroyed, eight injured

23. Mobile home, Springbrook Twp.

April 9, 1975

24. 1426 Pittston Ave, Scranton

Jan. 19, 1976

25. Mark Avenue, Dunmore

Jan. 20, 1979

26. Boulevard Avenue, Scranton

Dec. 25, 1979

27. Clifton Twp./Route 435

March 23, 1981

Home destroyed

28. 2824 N. Main Ave., Scranton

June 21, 1990

29. 423 Marion St., Scranton

April 10, 1992

30. Frank Serafini’s guest chalet, 10 Alpine Drive, Glenmaura

Aug. 31, 1998

31. Garfield and Terrace streets, Carbondale

Jan. 8, 1999

32. 1211 Rushbrook Road, Scott Twp.

Sept. 12, 1999

33. 921-23 Clay Ave., Scranton

May 12, 2000

34. Morgan Highway home, South Abington Twp.

Nov. 21, 2000

35. 1065 Heart Lake Road, Scott Twp

Dec. 3, 2007

36. 249 Main St., Archbald

Jan. 30, 2009

37. 730 Carmalt St., Dickson City

July 13, 2009

Two killed, one injured

* Doesn’t include industrial explosions

SOURCE: Times-Tribune archives