PATERSON - An explosion in Paterson injured 18 first responders and displaced over 30 residents Tuesday morning.
Police, fire and PSE&G crews were responding to a 911 call for a smell of gas on Goshen Avenue around 9 a.m. Residents were evacuated while crews checked for a leak.
Around 9:25 a.m. something caused the gas to ignite, causing an explosion that destroyed two multifamily homes and caused damage blocks away.
Paterson officials say 15 firefighters and three police officers responding to the scene were treated for injuries. Officials say most of the injuries were ear drum issues from the power of the explosion. The firefighters have since been released from the hospital.
None of the residents were injured. Goshen Avenue will remain closed until further notice in the area.
The American Red Cross is assisting 37 people in nine families displaced by the explosion. Those residents are being provided temporary lodging, food and clothing.
PSE&G officials say this is the first report of a gas leak that the utility company has had in the area. They say the gas pipe was first installed in 1986.
Gas service has been cut off to all homes on Goshen Avenue between Getty and Main. PSE&G officials say inspectors will not be able to check out the gas main that services the home until the debris is cleared.