Gas blast rattles New Jersey suburb

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IOL pic mar5 New Jersey Explosion Associated Press Firefighters work at the scene of an explosion at a townhouse complex in Ewing, New Jersey. Picture: Mel Evans

Ewing, New Jersey -

A gas leak and explosion in a US neighbourhood killed one person and injured seven workers on Tuesday while destroying 10 homes and damaging 45 others, authorities said.

The body of a woman was found on a car near the site of an explosion in a New Jersey housing development.

Police were waiting for the results of an autopsy for positive identification of the victim, said Lieutenant Ron Lunetta. Officials did not know whether the victim lived at the development.

Police said the blast happened on Tuesday after a gas line was damaged by contractors who were digging in the area.

At least 10 town homes were destroyed in the Trenton suburb of Ewing and 45 others damaged.

The utility PSE&G said it got a call that a contractor had damaged a gas line. Crews were repairing the line when it exploded.

The force from the explosion buckled windows in an apartment complex nearby, said resident Marsha Brown, and pictures fell from her walls.

“It felt like a bomb,” she said.

She saw a home engulfed in flames and two utility workers on the lawn with injuries that apparently included broken bones.

Three of those victims had to be admitted to hospital and none of those injuries was considered life-threatening, said Dr Louis D'Amelio, trauma chief at Capital Regional Medical Centre in Trenton. They included concussions, broken bones and minor shrapnel wounds, he said. - Sapa-AP

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