House explosion in South Amboy

April 2, 2010 8:36:14 PM PDT
A house that exploded in flames in South Amboy seriously injured two people. A PSE&G technician was on the block where the home exploded earlier in the day to check for a gas leak.

The worker reportedly walked up to the curb, did not find evidence of a gas leak, did not knock on the door, and kept on going.

Less than an hour later, the rental home exploded on South Feltus Street just before 2:30 p.m.

Two people were critically injured in the explosion and rushed to St. Barnabus Hospital.

Witnesses say it was a singular explosion that created a big, gray mushroom cloud of smoke.

The house is nothing more than a smoking, and smouldering wood pile now.

Amazingly, the homes next door to the rental home suffered just minor damage.

A man in his 50's and a woman who was a house guest were pulled out of the rubble.

"The house wasn't on fire, it just exploded," described Andrew Rios, the homeowner, "I don't recall seeing anything on fire."

The homeowners received an automated text message from a security company about the explosion, but they thought their home was being robbed. "Someone said oh it's a house, a little red brick house, when they said that I already knew it was my home," said Elena de Jesus, the homeowner.

"It was a large explosion, it got dark, it was really loud, and I saw debris flying past my window and it was just terrible," said witness Nicole Dale.

Firefighters, police officers and utility workers are all working together to determine the cause of the explosion.

Investigators believe the victims might have been smoking or lit a match, which might have sparked the explosion.

"There appears to have been a gas buildup in the dwelling, and at some point there may have been an open flame introduced to that gas pocket," explained Kevin Krushinski, a South Amboy Fire Investigator.

A gas odor that PSE&G received a complaint about and investigated 45 minutes before the house was ripped to pieces.

"We didn't have a specific call for gas at this specific house," said Michael Schmid, of PSE&G.

The names of the victims have not yet been released.