Victim identified in Ewing home explosion; Dozens displaced

Anthony Johnson reports from Ewing.
March 6, 2014 4:28:55 AM PST
Officials have identified the victim in the Ewing Township house explosion as 62-year-old Linda Cerritelli. Several other people were injured in the blast.



Cerritelli's body was discovered on the hood of a car parked on the street, and investigators were trying to determine if she was inside the home or outside at the time.

Dozens of families are still out of their homes after workers damaged a gas line on Crockett Lane in Ewing, just outside of Trenton, sparking the blast around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

What we are going to allow is to allow residents to come to our Emergency Management trailor to give us there information, and then will be escorted by a fire official to take out their need," said Mayor Bert Steinmann.

A neighbor captured the moments after the apparent gas leak sent the home up in flames.

"It was the loudest sound I ever heard, and I was only about four houses away," neighbor Robert Conrad said. "I was sitting there having lunch, and bang boom, and a lot of things fell off the wall. I ran out right away and looked. The smoke was overhead, and it was just starting to rain insulation."

Authorities say contractors were digging in the area trying to fix an electrical problem. Seven workers were injured, and the blast destroyed at least 10 homes.

"Originally, it was to correct an electrical problem," Ewing Township police lieutenant Ron Lunetta said. "The contractor was drilling and at that point struck what they believe to be a gas line, and from there it just escalated until it exploded."

More than 50 houses in the area are still without power, and dozens of residents have no idea when they might be able to return to their homes.

The investigation is ongoing, but officials acknowledge that no homes were evacuated when the gas line ruptured. They were only moved after the explosion.