'Everyone thought a bomb had exploded': 12 families relocated following apartment building explosion in Newark

The explosion on Friday was caught on video. Windows were sent flying and left shards of glass everywhere. Witnesses say several people were trapped under debris.

Lanette Espy and Ali Reid

Jul 24, 2023, 10:25 AM

Updated 327 days ago

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More than 30 people remain displaced following an apartment explosion in Newark over the weekend. Six people were injured. One person is being treated for serious burns.
The explosion on Friday at Stephen Crane Village apartments was caught on video. Windows were sent flying and left shards of glass everywhere. Witnesses say several people were trapped under debris.
Demolition crews remained at the scene over the weekend and tore down what was left of the apartment which is now covered by a tarp. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says it's an all-hands-on-deck effort.
“We have architects looking at what can be salvaged, our engineers looking at the building, so there's a lot of things happening all at once,” Baraka said.
The American Red Cross says its Disaster Action Team is helping 12 families affected by the explosion on South Pine Lane with emergency assistance for food, clothing and other needs. The Red Cross says Newark Housing Authority has provided temporary lodging to the families.
The official cause of the explosion has not been determined. Neighbors say they smelled gas during recent construction on the building. They believe this was a gas explosion.
One witness said, “people kept saying they smelled gas so why wasn’t anybody on it quicker?”
PSE&G crews shut off gas over the weekend to make the area safe. A fence is also up Monday, blocking anyone from entering the adjacent apartments that have been red tagged.
One woman says she was less than a block away before the explosion. She says she saw a man climbing on top of rubble and screaming.
Another witness said the explosion was the scariest thing they’ve ever seen in their life.
“Everyone thought a bomb had exploded,” the witness told News 12 New Jersey. “It's not terrifying, its horrifying. And its unimaginable.”
An investigation into what caused the explosion is still ongoing.


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