Police probe whether thieves sparked house explosion

Investigators are trying to determine whether thieves trying to steal copper from a newly constructed house caused an explosion that killed one and injured four in Irvington Friday.

A day after the natural gas explosion turned two homes to rubble, News 12 New Jersey found men at the scene trying to take construction materials. Investigators believe the men who caused the explosion may have been doing the same thing.

Construction worker, Mario Goncalves died in the blast. Four others were injured, two of them had to be pulled from underneath the debris. The explosion also leveled a nearby home and blew out windows in others.

Brian McCarthy, a developer in the area, says he wants surveillance cameras put up near construction sites to prevent this from happening again.

Investigators say they have evidence of an earlier break-in to the newly construction home prior to the blast.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Arson Task Force is confident it was a natural gas explosion. However, the cause remains under investigation.

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