(PATERSON, N.J.) — Two houses in Patterson, New Jersey, have been flattened after one exploded and caught on fire after a gas leak Tuesday morning, according to the Paterson Fire Department.
Authorities received a report of a gas odor in one of the homes just after 9 a.m., fire officials said at a news conference Tuesday. Upon arrival, firefighters and police officers reported hearing gas hissing from the main structure.
Authorities evacuated the area before the house exploded at 9:24 a.m.
Five firefighters were transported to the hospital for minor injuries, according to authorities.
Gas and electricity were shut off in the area, and firefighters were still working to put out a fire burning under the rubble late Tuesday morning, officials said.
The two buildings flattened by the blast were multi-family homes, authorities said. The 11 individuals who lived in the homes are believed to be accounted for, authorities added.
Video taken by ABC station WABC-TV in New York showed the houses reduced to rubble and debris on the street as emergency personnel responded to the scene. Firefighters appeared to have the fire under control.
Prior to the blast, responding Paterson Fire Department personnel reported a heavy odor of gas at 16 Goshen Street, WABC reported. The station added that the first responders believed the leak was emanating from the basement. The gas odor was so strong that they immediately called PSE&G.
The fire department “evacuated residents of 16 Goshen and adjacent homes, as a PSE&G crew and service technician were responding,” according to a statement from PSE&G.
The company added, “We have shut off the gas mains and electric service. At this time we do not know the cause of the explosion but will work with local officials to fully investigate.”
Neighbors reported a loud boom, followed by flames and heavy smoke, WABC reported.
“There was a very gassy smell,” said Laura, who works in a nearby dental office, to WABC. “I walked out and saw a whole bunch of people running.”
An active investigation is ongoing, officials said.
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