NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Newark fire officials are trying to determine the cause of a pre-dawn blaze that began with a blast in one home and spread to three other buildings.

The blaze broke out around 3:30 a.m. Monday after an explosion at 741 S. 15th Street. Two adjacent homes to were gutted by the fire leaving 16 people homeless.

A fourth home suffered minor damage.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports: Explosion Rocks Newark

It took three hours to bring the fire under control.

“It sounded like a plane hit my house, everything just shook,” one person told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan.

Neighbors said the home was empty but squatters would could be seen entering and leaving the residence.

One firefighter suffered minor burns to his neck.

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