After officers in the Stafford Township of New Jersey responded to reports of a strong ‘egg-like odor’, they began to clear surrounding homes due to a suspected gas leak. While clearing the surrounding houses to secure the area, all hell broke loose.
This footage was capture from the dashboard camera of a police cruiser, and shows this neighborhood home turning to dust particles in under one second. The neighboring homes sustained serious damage, as did one under construction across the street. Several workers in the area (firemen, police) were thrown to the ground by the powerful shockwave.
Fire Chief Jack Johnson was standing outside a home under renovation near the Jersey shore in the neighborhood where residents had reported a strong smell of natural gas Tuesday morning.
The rotten-egg smell of the substance added to odorless gas to warn people of a leak hung heavy in the air and was beginning to permeate the Stafford Township homes.
Johnson, fellow firefighters, police officers and gas company workers were going house to house, asking people to evacuate as a precaution while workers looked for the source of the leak.
The fire chief was about 50 feet from the unoccupied house, where workers suspected the gas was leaking, when a fireball burst into the sky and a shock wave knocked several people on their backs and pounded their eardrums. Glass, wood and insulation rained down; strands of pink fiberglass hung from the pine trees like wispy strands of cotton candy.
“It happened so quickly, the explosion, debris all around us coming from nowhere,” Johnson said. “It knocked you off your feet, a shock wave, the concussion of it. It’s something I never want to experience again.”
In that instant — captured on a police cruiser’s dashboard camera — 15 people were injured, two of them critically.
Our thoughts definitely go out to the workers who were injured in this explosion, as well as those whose homes suffered damage or were destroyed.
And though there were injuries, I cannot begin to imagine how catastrophic this might have been had the community not reported the strong gas odor and more people were around during the explosion.