N.J. utility says damaged gas line explodes; 7 hurt

EWING, N.J. — A gas line damaged by a contractor exploded “like a bomb” while utility crews worked to repair it Tuesday at a town house development in New Jersey, and at least seven people were injured and several homes destroyed or damaged.

PSE&G utility got a call shortly before noon that a contractor had damaged a gas line, spokeswoman Lindsey Puliti said. Crews were working on it about an hour later when the gas line ignited.

The force from the blast buckled windows in an apartment complex nearby, said resident Marsha Brown, and pictures fell from her walls.

“It felt like a bomb,” she said.

She ran to the town house complex, saw a home engulfed in flames and two utility workers on the lawn with injuries that apparently included broken bones. She said she saw another utility worker on a sidewalk crying, being held by a woman.

Television footage showed at least one unit a blackened pile of rubble and damage to other homes, including windows blown out. Debris was widely scattered, with insulation hanging in some tree branches.

“My body was shaking. I like to say I am calm, but I was shaking,” said Brown, who had a day off from her job as an infant hearing screener at a hospital. “You could feel the flames, everything.”

A resident of the complex, Bryan Gentry, drove home minutes after he heard an explosion and as he got closer, saw a black smoke cloud. The fire was intensely hot, he said, and he saw one person walking away from the fire who appeared to be stunned.

“It was just unreal,” he said, adding that emergency crews responded “really fast.”

Normally during that time of day, the people in the neighborhood are at work and their kids are at school, he added.

Flames could still be seen shooting up from the ground hours after the explosion.

The Capital Regional Medical Center in nearby Trenton said it was getting at least seven patients from the blast, including two with traumatic injuries.

The utility confirmed that two of its workers were among the injured. Puliti said they did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Most Read