ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities say it appears a gas leak is to blame for an explosion in Elmwood Park that left a woman with serious burns and forced residents to evacuate.

Friday morning, crews were beginning to make repairs as the homeowner cleaned up after likely one of the most frightening nights of his life that he said he chalks up to bad luck, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

It was around 7:15 p.m. Thursday when police say a leaky gas stove in the kitchen caused a huge blast at the home at 190 Martha Avenue.

The force of the explosion sent the living room window flying, bent the garage door and forced the front door right open.

Dominick Nicolosi lives two doors down.

“When we come outside, we see the windows are bust and the two girls inside, the one, she got very burned,” he said.

That woman was one of the homeowner’s adult daughters, who was taken to the hospital for second-degree burns.

Edwin Soba was one of the first neighbors who dashed in to help the woman who he said was covered in fire, using a garden hose to put out the flames.

“She said that she went downstairs and opened the door because she smelled gas and the minute she opened the door, it just exploded,” Soba said. “She was pretty much burned on her face and neck area and her hands.”

Several other houses were evacuated as a precaution as PSE&G crews checked the gas lines.

“Of course, everyone is scared, people run away, the cops began to shoo everyone away because you don’t know,” said Nicolosi. “The gas could leak on the street, the property, anything else could blow up too.”

“It’s very scary because you never know when it’s going to happen,” said neighbor Andriana Cernysh. “It could happen to anybody, anywhere.”

“It could’ve been a lot worse considering the situation,” said Soba.

There was no major fire inside the home and the homeowner’s other daughter was shaken, but OK.

A representative from PSE&G came back at the house Friday as neighbors marveled at what could have been.

“Thank God the people are OK and the house is still standing because it could have been really deadly,” said neighbor Lilla Sondej.

The woman remains hospitalized.


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