Gas fire forces evacuation of cat hospital in Fair Lawn

FAIR LAWN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A downed power line in New Jersey caused an explosion and forced an animal hospital to evacuate.

Vicious flames shot into the sky of the fire, fueled by a gas main on Lincoln Avenue in Fair Lawn on Friday afternoon. It all started as a power outage.

CeFaan Kim was live at the scene:

"Lights were going on and off, and finally a transformer blew," says resident Mary Oprihory.

"I heard that loud humming going on and off, and finally a transformer blew," added Lois Stively.

Then it got worse - a lot worse. Flames started pouring out of the ground, followed by multiple loud booms.

"Explosion like a car - like two cars crashing there and just flames all over," said Javier Garcia.

The fire forced the evacuation of the Lincoln Avenue Cat Hospital. More than 30 felines were transferred unharmed to the Animal Hospital of Fairfield. SPCA officials say no smoke entered the cat hospital. Animal Control officers say some of the cats are already back with their owners.

PSE&G officials say the reason the fire burned for so long is because crews just couldn't completely shut off the gas. To safely make repairs, they slowly reduced the flow of gas.

It is not clear what caused the power line to fail.

Residents are hoping to get back home on Saturday.

No humans - or cats were harmed.
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