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Community Pulls Together To Help Residents Displaced By Explosion In Ewing Township

By Todd Quinones and Tim Jimenez

TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) -- After a deadly explosion Tuesday afternoon in Ewing Township, Mercer County (See Related Story), residents of the South Fork housing community were forced out of their homes and into an evacuation center.

The community is pulling together to help those who are in need.

PHOTOS: Ewing Township Explosion

Ewing officials and the American Red Cross set up shop at the West Trenton Firehouse at 40 W. Upper Ferry Road.

Fifty-five people who were displaced all came here tonight. They were seeking food, shelter and information.

Throughout the night people kept bringing in food and water for the dozens of people here who sought shelter at the firehouse. Many waiting to hear if they could go back home Tuesday night.

"I think I'm going to stay in a hotel," neighbor Lin Wang said.

The American Red Cross is on hand helping out those who have been displaced.

"I think for any properties that are damaged or somewhat damaged, the township is going to go and look and have a sense in terms of what the damage assessment looks like," Mathieu Nelessen of the American Red Cross said.

The explosion left dozens of people with a feeling of uncertainty. Stunned neighbors, some carrying children, other had pets, made their way here after the explosion rocked their neighborhood. Some say it sounded like a plane had crashed into their backyard.

"It was very scary. Like I said, sounded like a bomb. Sounded just like a bomb unfortunately," neighbor Frank Clyburn said.

"It only takes a minute, the flash of an eye as the saying goes, tomorrow is not promised," neighbor Bill Kauffman said.

The firehouse is a needed warm place to stay for residents like Bill Kauffman, who isn't sure what's next.

"I wasn't home. I was with a family member. On my way home my wife called and said the neighbor called and said there was explosion in our development and that our windows were blown out. That's all I know," he said.

Some who weren't home at the time of explosion weren't allowed back into their neighborhood for much of the evening and for them it was an agonizing wait to find out if their home was damaged or if their pets were okay.

"I still got a dog there. I couldn't even go pick up my dog," a neighbor said.

Good Samaritans came by with pizza, coffee, and cases of bottled water. One of them Geri, dropped off some sweaters, coats and shoes.

"If you're doing okay, you've got to help people that aren't. There are a lot of people who are displaced, out of their home. Every little thing will help, really."

CBS 3 is told some of the people have been able to return back into their homes Tuesday night.

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