Cause Of Blast Under Investigation

CAPE MAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two people remain hospitalized in critical condition after their house exploded in southern New Jersey.

The home in Lower Township, Cape May County blew up around 4 p.m. Thursday.

The blast leveled the house and sent debris flying onto neighboring properties and into the street. Video from the scene shows there is little left of the home located on Atlantic Avenue.

Mayor Michael Beck, who lives nearby, said neighbors worked to free a married couple, identified as Jim and Evelyn McCarty, who were trapped in the debris.

“Got Evelyn out of the living room, went running around and Jim was in the shower at the time,” good Samaritan Nick Plasi said.

“There was a whole bunch of wood on top of him and when they were still in the building and we just pulled the wood of and got him out,” good Samaritan Dana Morrow said.

Emergency responders immediately flew the couple to Crozier Chester Medical Center, and then fought the fire for hours, until it was finally out.

“It’s been a very long time since an incident of this magnitude has happened in our area,” said Villas Fire Chief Rich Herron, Jr.

The cause of the blast hasn’t been determined, but Township Manager Michael Voll said new gas lines were recently installed in the neighborhood.

The homeowner told a neighbor that he smelled gas before the explosion, CBS 2’s Jenn Bernstein reported.

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