Elizabeth house explosion kills 1, injures 15; 2 critical

One person was killed and more than a dozen others were injured in a home explosion in Elizabeth. Mayor Chris Bollwage tells News 12 New Jersey that authorities believe it was a gas explosion that

News 12 Staff

Nov 12, 2015, 6:06 PM

Updated 3,075 days ago

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Elizabeth house explosion kills 1, injures 15; 2 critical
One person was killed and more than a dozen others were injured in a home explosion in Elizabeth.
Mayor Chris Bollwage tells News 12 New Jersey that authorities believe it was a gas explosion that destroyed a two-family duplex on Magnolia Avenue at around 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The mayor says 15 people were treated at hospitals, including two who remain in critical condition Thursday. An 11-year-old is among the critical victims.
The deceased victim's name has not been released. Officials say he was a man in his 20s.
One man, who was previously unaccounted for, was found at the hospital tending to his mother who was hurt in the blast, according to Mayor Bollwage.
The blast damaged ten of the surrounding buildings, and the mayor says three of them will have to be demolished.
The explosion woke up many of the neighbors, who say they didn't know what was happening.
"I opened my eyes to what looked like either a nightmare or a disaster movie," says Wayne Sheppard.
Kema Hemmingway was equally startled by the blast.
"I jumped out of my head, my window and everything was just shattered up," she says. 
Neighbors did say they thought they smelled natural gas in the area Wednesday. Officials have not said what the cause of the explosion is, but Elizabethtown Gas spokesman Duane Bourne says a preliminary investigation hasn't linked the explosion to a natural gas leak. He says that the investigation is ongoing.
Contractors will be taking the rubble apart layer by layer to make sure no one was left inside.
The Red Cross tells News 12 New Jersey that it is assisting 23 families comprising about 44 people. The organization is providing emergency assistance, including temporary lodging, food and clothing. Counseling services will also be provided.


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