NewsNational News


New Jersey gas line explosion leaves one dead, dozens displaced

Posted at 6:23 AM, Mar 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-05 06:32:35-05

(CNN) -- One person died and seven were injured Tuesday after a suspected gas-related explosion damaged dozens of townhouses in Ewing Township, New Jersey, according to authorities.

Shortly before noon, Public Service Electric & Gas workers were called to examine a gas line that may have been accidentally damaged by one of the company's contractors, according to Mike Gaffney, director of gas construction at PSE&G.

The explosion took place nearly an hour later when the PSE&G workers were attempting to repair the line, officials said. It blew out windows, caused several fires and threw debris around the housing development.

"Obviously, where it happened is devastated. I mean, it's really bad," Ewing Police Lt. Ron Lunetta said at a press briefing.

Fifty-five of the two- and three-story units were damaged as a result of the explosion and resulting fires, according to Lunetta, describing damage as "extensive."

The identity of a resident who died was not immediately available, according to Lunetta. Her body was found outside.

Seven workers were injured.

Their injuries are non-life-threatening, according to Jayne O'Conner of Capital Health Medical Center.

An investigation was underway; the damaged gas line may have caused the explosion, according to Gaffney.

Temporary shelter was being provided at a local fire station for people who were unable to reenter their homes, according to Ewing Township Mayor Bert Steinmann. The township is a suburb of Trenton.