New Jersey

Explosion Obliterates NJ House, Rocks Much of North Jersey

One Twitter user tweeted she felt the explosion all the way in Rockaway, a roughly 20 mile trip from Hardyston

What to Know

  • A house in New Jersey is a 'total loss' after officials say an explosion completely leveled it late Tuesday
  • The house exploded on Grumm Road in Hardyston right across from Wallkill Valley Regional High School; the school will be closed Wednesday
  • Nobody was home at the time the house blew up and no injures were reported

Officials say a house was obliterated after it exploded in New Jersey late Tuesday, with some saying they felt the boom as far as 20 miles away. 

The house exploded around 11 p.m. in Hardyston on Grumm Road, right across the street from Wallkill Valley Regional High School. Hardyston Township Police felt the boom at police headquarters and responded to 911 calls from people who heard the explosion. One neighbor who called 911 said the explosion blew the windows out of her house.

When police arrived at the scene, they found just the remnants of a home at 33 Grumm Street. The home was obliterated and debris was dispersed generally in southeast direction, police said.

Nobody was home at the time the house blew up and no injuries were reported, according to the fire department. 

Officials said the house is a "total loss" and that the high school sustained structural damage and would be closed on Wednesday. Some of the debris was found on the soccer field of the high school across the street. The high school's facade, windows and doors were also damaged in the blast, and it will be closed until further assessments are made.

A neighboring home was also damaged.  

The explosion was so powerful it was felt miles away, even reportedly heard of felt in portions of Passaic and Morris Counties. One Twitter user tweeted she felt it all the way in Rockaway, a roughly 20 mile trip from Hardyston. Another user tweeted he had fiberglass on his street in Hamburg two miles away. 

The blast was so powerful that a surveillance camera from a home a mile away captured the sound.

"All of a sudden, boom," said Lisa Karas of Hamburg. "We thought it was a transformer at first." 

"It was loud," added Rick DelGuidice of Hamburg. "And it just goes 'boom.' I mean, it was like a split second. Just boom. And the windows went and my floor shook." 

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South Jersey Industries confirms it was not a natural gas leak, but the explosion was heard and felt right away.

"It was like a earthquake," said Darrin Reynolds of Hardyston. "I thought it was an earthquake." 

Investigators say that two sizable propane tanks were behind the house — one was 30 percent full, the other was 18 percent full.

"We believe it has something to do with the propare," said Bull Walsh, a Hardyston fire officials. "Something ignited and it blew up." 

However, investigators cannot be sure they were the cause of the explosion. 

According to law enforcement sources, detectives have reached out to the home owner, who moved out of the home two months ago, to interview him. Property records show the house was a model home, part of the Brescia Farms development.  

They say it is too early in the investigation to determine if the blast was suspicious, intentional or accidental.

Grumm Road remains closed until further notice.

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