An explosion in a house in Elizabeth, N.J. left at least one person dead and at least 14 people were injured. The situation is being described as a “gas episode.”
The blast happened around 8 a.m. on the second floor of a two-family duplex on Magnolia Avenue, ABC News reports. According to ABC’s affiliate WABC, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said it was certain that the explosion was a “gas episode.” Residents said they smelled gas when respondents first appeared on the scene.
Bollwage said that the investigation continued afterward.
He also said that the fire that self-extinguished left two victims burned severely, including an 11-year-old. And those victims were treated at St. Barnabas Hospital’s burn unit.
He added that a person originally reported missing was discovered safe and unharmed. Bollwage said that the rest of the victims were sleeping in the back of the building when the explosion occurred. They were treated for their injuries at other hospitals.
None of the victims have been identified, but Bollwage said that it seemed as if all of the victims were inside of the duplex that exploded.
Authorities stated that the home was up to code on everything and had been built in the last eight years, according to ABC. “We don’t know if any current work was being done at the time,” the mayor said. “It was a relatively new construction but we are not aware of any current work.”
All of the buildings–a total of seven–near the explosion will be inspected. At least two buildings will also be demolished, along with a possible third.
Elizabeth’s fire chief Thomas McNamara said that the second floor basically collapsed on the first. McNamara said the explosion “pancaked” the second floor onto the first.
“Where the explosion came from, we are not sure,” he said. He added that it will take “quite a while to make sure the area is safe.”