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Emergency Crews Swarm NJ Community After Gas Main Break; Flames Shoot 20 Feet High in Air, Police Official Says

What to Know

  • Multiple homes were evacuated in Lakewood, New Jersey, Monday morning after a fire and possible gas explosion
  • Chopper 4 showed intense orange flames leaping from what appeared to be a backyard; trees and other homes were nearby
  • No injuries were reported

Dozens of homes were evacuated in an Ocean County, New Jersey, community Monday as crews investigated a report of a fire and gas explosion, officials say.

A call about a two-alarm fire near Second Street and Forest Avenue in Lakewood Township came in around 8 a.m. Monday. NJ Natural Gas says a contractor installing a sewer line struck a natural gas main in the area. Its crews were on scene within 15 minutes and able to turn off the valve, rendering the area safe.

Earlier, Chopper 4 over the scene showed raging flames leaping from what appeared to be someone's backyard. That backyard was sandwiched between large trees and other homes.

The broken gas main is an unmarked gas line, Lakewood Police Captain Steve Allaire said, adding that it was deeper than most gas lines. The gas has been secured. The primary structure impacted by the fire and gas explosion has been deemed unsafe until a building inspector rules otherwise.

Emergency radio showed a frenzy of activity and concern. 

"It looks pretty bad," one firefighter says at one point. 

Another asks if a particular building had been evacuated. 

"I'm just trying to hold back the fire at this point," the first firefighter says.

Minutes later, "Still trying to hold back this fire ... I hope we got this building evacuated." 

No injuries were immediately reported.

According to Allaire, the flames reached a height of more than 20 feet.

Local site The Lakewood Scoop reported smoke could be seen for miles. 

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