House explosion in West Milford, New Jersey injures 5, flattens house

ByToni Yates and Eyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, September 25, 2023
House explosion in New Jersey injures 5, flattens house
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Four people were airlifted to area hospitals after a house explosion completely flattened a house in West Milford, New Jersey Friday. Toni Yates is live at the scene with the lates

WEST MILFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A house explosion in West Milford, New Jersey injured five people and completely flattened a house Friday night.

Officials are now investigating the possibility that a propane leak was the cause of the explosion.

"Propane is heavier than air, so we believe the propane settled inside the crawl space of the house, reached an ignition source, or a spark, and exploded." said Michael Moscatello, the fire marshal.

West Milford Police said they began receiving multiple 911 calls reporting an explosion in the Banker Road area of Upper Greenwood Lake around 9:15 p.m.

West Milford Fire Department, First Aid Squad and Atlantic ALS responded and began rescuing people from the rubble. Firefighters from as far away as Paterson and Newark responded to the scene.

Five people were trapped under the house. The sixth occupant was just outside.

Before first responders arrived, neighbors did their best to assist the victims.

"We went to get towels," said Laura Mignone, a neighbor. "They said someone was under the house bleeding."

The initial four victims were removed by the West Milford Fire Department. The fifth victim was trapped and need to be rescued by Urban Search and Rescue teams.

Four of the victims were airlifted to trauma centers, the fifth transported in an ambulance to a local hospital.

According to a friend of the family, all of the victims are expected to recover.

The house at 53 Banker Road was a one-story ranch house that had been sold just last month. Neighbors say the couple who owns it was working on renovating it with friends.

"They were there every night for about four weeks... there were a bunch of guys there a bunch of cars there," said Mignone.

Residents say it felt like an earthquake, and that their entire neighborhood shook when the house exploded.

"I don't know how they made it out, it's a miracle honestly," said Mignone.

The house was located in the Upper Greenwood Lake neighborhood of West Milford. West Milford is located about 33 miles (53 kilometers) north of Morristown, New Jersey, and 48 miles (77 kilometers) northwest of New York City.

What caused the explosion is still under investigation by West Milford detectives and the fire marshal's offices from the town and state, police said.


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