One dead as damaged gas line explodes at New Jersey townhouse complex

Last Updated Mar 4, 2014 7:55 PM EST

EWING, N.J. - Authorities say one resident was killed in an explosion in a New Jersey housing development that also injured seven workers.

Police say the blast happened Tuesday after a gas line was damaged by contractors who were digging in the area. At least one town home was destroyed in the Trenton suburb of Ewing and 55 others damaged.

The person who was killed was found outside the home that blew up, but authorities don't know whether the victim lived there. No other details were given.

The 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 Associated Press quoted one hospital as saying it was receiving six patients. Many of the injuries were said to be burns.

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A scene from the home explosion in Ewing, N.J. on March 4, 2014.
CBS

Video from the scene shows damage to several units at the development and widely scattered debris. Flames could be seen shooting up from the ground, apparently fed by a gas line.

Debris could be seen scattered throughout the area, including in the trees and on the roofs of nearby homes.

Photos show the home that was destroyed in the explosion.

The explosion occurred just off I-95 around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Residents were evacuated. PSE&G crews shut off the gas and electricity and firefighters combed through the rubble in case there are more injuries.

CBS Philadelphia's Cleve Bryan spoke to a man identified as Matt, who said he heard the explosion and suffered an injury to his hand.

"I was getting off my couch ... I got up, and there's was just this very loud explosion. Right after that, my front door - glass door -got shattered. And I kinda flew back ... from the explosion," Matt said.

"The fact that I got blown off my feet from 50 feet away ... there's gotta be some injuries," he added.

"The house [that exploded] was completely engulfed," a woman told Bryan. "I've never seen anything like it. It was devastating."

The utility company said that two of the injured were PSE&G employees, but that their injuries were non life-threatening.




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