Fifteen people were injured after an explosion that resulted from a natural gas leak in a Stafford Township, New Jersey home. The leak originated from the basement when the gas came in contact with an open flame from an appliance. After the explosion, many homes in the area were left without heat the following day.
It was reported that a house across the street from the explosion site had a walls blown out, door frames irreparably damaged, and a bedroom ceiling caving in.
Authorities are claiming the source of the explosion to be a pilot light from a furnace, a hot water heater, or a spark from a thermostat. Gas traveled into the house through a water pipe that started as a leak from a two-inch main in the street in front of the unoccupied house and exploded upon touching the flame. Because the damage was so all-encompassing, it is impossible to determine which appliance caused the explosion.
A police recording shows a fireball before the debris began to rain down, affecting homes and businesses in the area up to a mile away. The impact of the blast knocked down several emergency medical technicians and firefighters. Among the wreckage, fragments of wood and insulation remain scattered in neighboring yards.
At the time of the explosion, employees of New Jersey Natural Gas had been working near the underground line. Of those workers, Dean Barnett had the most serious injuries and was airlifted to the trauma center in Atlantic City.
Before the blast, the police, fire departments, as well as the utility works recommended that nearby residents vacate the area due to potential dangers from the fumes, not to mention the danger that can result from a gas leak. Some residents stayed in their homes despite the warning, not realizing the severity of the threat posed by a gas leak.
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