Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Gabe Roder said the explosion was triggered when the car owner used a remote key fob to unlock the car door. The owner is a plumber.
The resulting fireball shredded the vehicle and hurled debris more than 100 yards.
The car owner was unhurt. Two men in a passing vehicle suffered minor cuts from flying glass.
The blast shattered apartment windows up to 12 stories high, and debris was found inside some units.
Police Constable Brian Montague said the cause is accidental and charges are unlikely.
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