EWING, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — The chief of the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company claims that his department had not been alerted to a gas leak that played a role in a fatal explosion.

A powerful explosion at a Ewing, N.J. townhouse complex left one person dead and several others injured on Tuesday.

Chief Ralf Brandmaier said that to the best of his knowledge the company had not been alerted to the leak, but if they had been, firefighters may have been able to implement safety precautions.

“Possibly be able to evacuate the building or have the residents leave the structure, their homes, before anything happened,” he told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

Brandmaier said that they didn’t know anything was wrong until they heard the explosion. A PSE&G crew had been on the scene trying to locate the leak when the blast occurred.

PSE&G said it’s was contractor doing the excavating work who was required to contact 911.

“The New Jersey statutes require the excavator to call 911 and then to call the faculty operator, which in this case PSE&G. We don’t know if that call was made prior to calling us. This is all under investigation, and we don’t want to get ahead of the investigation,” the utility said in a statement.

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