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House Explodes In Ridgefield, N.J.

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - One person was treated after a house exploded in Ridgefield, N.J. Monday.

The explosion took place at 360 Abbott Avenue, near Elizabeth Street at around 11:30 a.m.

Neighbors say their homes shook as if a bomb went off. When they looked out their windows, all they could see was smoke. Home video taken by neighbors shows the scene of the explosion moments after it happened.

Photos: House Explodes In Ridgefield, N.J. 

The explosion sent a large plume of smoke and column of flame rising into the air. The flames rose from a large field of debris, and the smoke could be seen from miles away. Large sections of siding of the house could be seen strewn about. The house was completely obliterated, reported CBS2's Meg Baker. The debris field extended three blocks, officials said.

"I saw the house, heard the boom, and saw it slowly drop down," said neighbor Christian Rojas.

"Next thing I heard was like a sonic boom, and my whole window shook, my whole house shook and I screamed up to my son 'What was that?'" neighbor Lisa Vicocchi said.

CBS2's Meg Baker reports --


Police say a man, the apparent owner who has not been identified, was home at the time of the explosion and was trapped under the garage roof.

The right person happened to be driving by at the time, Baker reported.

"The resident was removed prior to our arrival by an off-duty police officer. We had to hold off fire suppression operations due to an active gas leak. Once the leak was taken care of by PSEG, we were able to extinguish the fire," said Deputy Chief David Brierty.

That man suffered burns and lacerations but is stable at Hackensack University Medical Center. The off-duty police officer, Hagop Cigercioglu, wasn't injured.

"I walk out of the house, saw a pile of rubble. I walked around the block and I saw putting someone on a stretcher into the ambulance," said neighbor Christian Torres.

Gas and electric utilities have been shut off to homes in the area.

"We are doing everything that we can to basically fix the situation. Now it's obviously an emergency scene, and there is a lot of cleanup that is going on right now. I just spoke to PSEG and they are setting up a command center down here, basically to remedy the situation as best as they can," said Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez.

"Shows you how important it is not to take life for granted," said neighbor Patty Congalton.

Neighbors say last month they smelled a leak, PSEG came out and fixed a pipe on the block. There's no word yet if that was connected to today's blast.

There is some damage to the homes directly adjacent to the house that exploded, but no other injuries were reported.

Neighbors say their small community is just in shock and most can't believe that someone made it out of the rubble alive, thanks to Cigercioglu.

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