PATTON, Pa. —
The blast initially was reported as a meth lab explosion. State police said the cause of the blast is yet to be determined. However, John Matchik, state police public information officer, said authorities are consulting with experts from the hazardous device and explosives division.
“We activated our major case team, which is a large contingent of criminal investigators,” he said. "What they’re doing now is going through and making contact with family members and things along those lines.”
A ballistics team was at the scene much of Tuesday, according to Matchik, and Patton Volunteer Fire Company used bucket trucks to give investigators an aerial view of the scene. Before that, a helicopter circled above the blasted plot.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents arrived shortly before 5 p.m. and began sifting through the mounds of rubble. The FBI also is involved, according to Matchik.
Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan, who went to the scene immediately following the explosion, referred questions to state police.
Two victims transported to the Altoona Regional Health System – one male adult and one male teenager – were not identified and the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
“Right now, we’re still trying to verify the locations of each of our victims whenever the blast actually occurred,” Matchik said.
Neighbors of the Shaners said the family had three children and two are believed to have just been picked up by their bus headed to class in the Cambria Heights School District. Classes were delayed by two hours due to winter road conditions.
The site of the explosion is directly across from the Clearfield Township Municipal Building, which apparently was not impacted.
State police cruisers sat at the entrance to Kepshire Road keeping the curious and the reporters away from the scene, which was about 150 yards from Route 36. Unmarked police vehicles maintained a perimeter near the Route 36 and Kepshire intersection to keep people from crossing through adjacent fields.