SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A neighborhood was rocked during the early-morning hours of Jan. 8, by a gas explosion after a vehicle went off the roadway, drove into a house and struck a gas main.
The South Plainfield Fire Department responded to 1204 Rush St. at 1:44 a.m., after receiving multiple calls of a reported house fire.
Half of a two-story wood-frame duplex house was engulfed in flames with partial structural collapse.
Firefighters established a water supply, set up several exterior hand lines and conducted a defensive attack on the fire. An aggressive interior attack could not be made due to the heavy volume of fire present and structural instability.
The bulk of the fire in the structure was knocked within 15 minutes, but flames remained visible where the gas main had been severed.
Crews with hand lines remained in place protecting exposures as firefighters watched the gas fed fire burn near the vehicle and the severely damaged house.
Public Service Electric & Gas secured the gas from the street. It was secured around 4:00 a.m., after having difficulty locating and shutting the valve due to freezing temperatures and snow cover.
Seven people were left homeless after the incident. All occupants, who were home sleeping at the time, were able to escape unscathed.
They were able to make arrangements to stay with family members and did not require assistance.
A neighboring home on Woolworth Avenue received moderate damage from flying debris as a result of the blast, while other homes on Woolworth Avenue and Christopher Avenue received minor heat damage from the intense flames.
Mutual aid fire departments from Plainfield and New Market assisted at the scene while other local surrounding fire departments covered the town during the incident.
South Plainfield EMS provided rehabilitation and medical monitoring for the firefighters operating on scene.
The driver of the vehiclenwas detained at the scene by police.