On a quiet Tuesday morning in Stafford Township, New Jersey, a blast ripped through the street and injured 15 people in an instant. The cause? A mysterious natural gas explosion.
Firefighters, police officers, and gas company workers were already in the neighborhood, hunting down the source of the smell of rotten eggs, Fox News reported. That's usually a sign of a natural gas leak, and officials responded by going door-to-door looking for it.
When they tracked the natural gas smell to an unoccupied house an hour-and-a-half later, an fireball burst through the street; Stafford Township fire chief, Jack Johnson, was only 50 feet away. Several people were launched to the ground by a shock wave, windows in neighboring houses were blown out, and at least two people suffered life-threatening injuries, reported the Asbury Park Press.
The fire chief described the frightening moment.
"It happened so quickly, the explosion, debris all around us coming from nowhere. It knocked you off your feet, a shock wave, the concussion of it. It's something I never want to experience again."Another witness said the explosion was like a "mini-earthquake." It was heard in a neighboring town - 10 miles away.
In that fiery second, six firefighters and two EMS technicians – Johnson included – suffered concussions. One of them had to stay in the hospital. A handful of gas company workers were also hurt. Two of those were only 20 feet away from the explosion, and their injuries were described as life-threatening. Eight more people sustained only minor injuries and have been released from the hospital.
Damage to the Stafford Township neighborhood was extensive, one witness told FoxNews.
"It looks like a war area. It's just destruction. There's debris all over the place."About 75 homes had to be evacuated around the time of the explosion, but as of Wednesday morning, natural gas service had been restored. The cause the blast has yet to be determined.
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