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Rising Flood Waters Devastate Pompton Lakes; Flooded Home Explodes

POMPTON LAKES, NJ (CBSNewYork) --A house in the middle of a flood zone in Pompton Lakes exploded early Monday, sending clouds of smoke and flames into the air.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reports


The explosion destroyed the home that was surrounded by flood waters caused by Hurricane Irene. The fire didn't appear to spread to neighboring homes.

Local firefighters braved floodwaters, risking possible electrocution or further explosions to get to the scene.

CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported firefighters used flood water to put out the blaze. Using a pump, they got a single attack line going and six hours later, what remained of the home was still sending smoke into the sky.

The cause isn't yet clear, but natural gas service in the area was not shut off.

Officials confirmed there was no one inside of the house at the time of the explosion. The neighborhood had been evacuated ahead of Irene.

SEE: User-Submitted Pictures Of Irene's Wrath | Irene's Aftermath From Chopper 880

Elsewhere in Pompton Lakes, flood waters are up the rooftops of many homes.

Valerie Metzer and her family say they've lost everything in the flood. Their home off Lincoln Avenue is buried by water.

"We just figured we can't do this anymore. This is the third time in a year and a half," she said. "But at least everybody's together."

For hundreds of families in Pompton Lakes, it's not a question of how much they've lost, it's how much they still have.

"It's all gone. TV's, couches, whatever is in the house it's all gone," resident Dave Anders said. "It's not a pretty situation. All you can do is want to cry."

Anders says this is the worst flooding he's seen in 50 years.

Pompton Lakes, which has a long history of flooding, sits between the Ramapo and Pequannoc rivers.

Both rivers crested early Monday morning and have started to recede, but unfortunately for many, the damage is already done.

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