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6 rescued after explosion levels West Milford home; cause under investigation

Investigation underway into West Milford house explosion
Investigation underway into West Milford house explosion 02:06

WEST MILFORD, N.J. -- A big blast leveled a home in North Jersey on Friday night, and the cause is under investigation.

First responders were able to pull out all six people inside.

Chopper 2 was over 53 Banker Rd. just after the explosion around 9 p.m. Friday. Debris and glass were scattered all across the yard and street.

Saturday, investigators kept the area blocked off, but photos showed shredded pieces of the home now in a pile in front of four vehicles.

"There's nothing left," West Milford resident Zoltan Horvath said.

Dozens of emergency services from several towns responded to pull out six people.

The West Milford Police Department says five victims were taken to area hospitals via medevac. A sixth refused medical attention.

Neighbors say it's a miracle, and that the sound of the explosion and its impact were felt miles way.

"The whole house shook ... so it felt like an earthquake," Horvath said.

"It sounded like a gas explosion," West Milford resident Terri Shuart Puccio said.

Some neighbors believe it may have been related to a propane tank, but the state and local fire marshal are investigating. A dumpster was outside the home, suggesting there may have been construction.

Neighbors tell CBS New York the home had been foreclosed for some time and was just purchased in August. They say the family that lives there had been doing repairs almost every night.

"From what I saw, general construction -- floors, walls. The house had taken on water in the basement. It was a vacant house for a few years, so he was just putting the house back together," West Milford resident Johnny Thompson said.

Residents are relieved the explosion didn't impact neighboring homes as well.

"The whole thing was so nerve-wracking. I just kept praying for the people," Ramsey resident Cathy Shuart said. "You're really only as safe as your neighbors. Whatever you do affects your neighbors, and I'm just so grateful no one else got hurt. Flying debris, so many things could have happened."

The conditions and identities of the people rescued have not been released.

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