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‘It looks like utter devastation’ – Explosion obliterates house

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HARDYSTON -

An explosion obliterated a Sussex County home Tuesday night and caused homes miles away to shake.

The explosion happened around 11 p.m. at the home on Grumm Road. Officials say that no one was living in the home at the time and that there were no injuries reported. But the blast could be heard and felt for miles.

Officials say that many county residents called 911 because they thought there had been an earthquake in the area.

“Basically the whole house shook. We ran outside. We didn’t know what the hell happened,” says neighbor John Ferrentino.

“I felt like someone drove into my neighbor’s house,” says Richie Molinini.

Local, state and federal investigators were at the scene to sift through the rubble to see what may have caused the explosion.

“It looks like utter devastation. It looks like something you’ve never seen before,” says Sussex County Fire Marshall Virgil Rome. “They're digging through the rubble trying to find wiring, piping, tubing, remnants of appliances. No stone is left unturned basically.”

Officials say propane tanks outside the home remained intact, leading investigators to believe whatever ignited was inside the home.

Rome says that some debris from the explosion struck nearby Wallkill Valley Regional High School.

“We found pieces as far as 200 yards away,” he says.

The school sustained some structural damage and classes were canceled Wednesday. Officials say that if the explosion happened during school hours the situation could have been a lot worse.

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