A house in suburban New Jersey exploded on Thursday morning, leaving at least three occupants dead, one missing, and two seriously injured.
First responders are still searching the ruins of a home after an explosion shook Buena, a small borough located about halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City.
Firefighters and police first rushed to the scene around 10.35am on Thursday morning after reports of a dwelling fire. They quickly realized the fire was caused by an explosion, Franklin Township Police Chief Matthew DeCesari said.
‘We are currently treating this incident as a crime scene,’ the police chief said at a press conference on Thursday.
Franklin Township Police are currently investigating the scene, alongside the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
Authorities said the home’s occupants included two adult men, ages 52 and 73, as well as four children, ages 16, 3, 2, and 1.
Two bodies were recovered immediately after the explosion on Thursday. A third was found on Friday.
Authorities have so far been unable to determine the age or sex of the bodies that were recovered.
A 16-year-old girl and a 1-year-old girl were both identified as survivors. They were flown by medevac to a St Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
The infant is still in critical condition, Chief DeCesari said.
Police have not confirmed whether or not the children in the home were related.
The explosion also caused additional damage to the surrounding neighborhood.
‘Several homes in the immediate area did sustain damage due to the explosion,’ Chief DeCesari said.
Police evacuated several homes in the neighborhood, but have since lifted the evacuation order for all but a few residences.
‘There are at least two houses displaced at this time that I know of that were in very close proximity to where the blast was, and they had fire damage, windows knocked out, so not habitable at this point,’ the police chief said.
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