New Jersey

Video Shows Burning Restaurant Surrounded by Floodwater in Another NJ Explosion

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A restaurant exploded in Manville, New Jersey early Friday, adding to the list of several structures in the area that were left to burn while being surrounded by floodwater from Ida.

A spokesperson with the borough's Office of Emergency Management said there were no injuries following the explosion at Saffron Banquet Hall on South Main Street. A video posted on social media appeared to show the aftermath. The banquet hall, often used as a wedding venue, was seen on fire around 2 a.m. Friday and NJ Certified Emergency Manager John Bentz said the blaze couldn't be accessed due to flooding.

A few hours before the explosion, all the flooding that covered nearby North Main Street had finally receded after it essentially cut the 10,000 residents of Manville from the rest of New Jersey with chest-high water levels on Thursday.

With luggage and pets in tow, residents were walking in knee-deep water to evacuate the town through the Main Street bridge.

Caesar and Meagan Dommar were among those who fled, but they won't get to go back to their home as they knew it. While the couple and their 4-month-old daughter Lila were safe at her grandparent's house, their own home became an island of debris after the roof and second floor exploded.

Caesar says he was told that the explosion was possibly caused by a tipped-over stove which broke the gas line.

"We are very thankful that we were able to get out," Meagan said.

But still, seeing everything they own destroyed is devastating. "The little rocking chair, little play area and bookshelves. Just to think about all the memory in that house. It's all gone. It's a lot," Caesar said.

A house in New Jersey exploded less than five hours after it was evacuated early Thursday amid flooding wrought by Ida, damaging multiple homes nearby but mercifully seriously injuring no one, officials in Rahway said. NBC New York's Ida Siegal reports.

Two other homes nearby also caught fire despite all the surrounding water. Flooding made it impossible for firefighters to battle those flames as well. It's unclear what caused the fire and no injuries have been reported.

Similar incidents were witnessed in other parts of New Jersey. One house in Rahway exploded less than five hours after it was evacuated early Thursday, officials said.

Three or four homes in the area were damaged, and one man passing by in a car suffered minor injuries.

Dozens of water rescues were reported not far away in Newark, which saw its wettest day in history -- nearly 8.5 inches -- amid the storm. Check the latest rainfall totals for your neighborhood here and get complete updates on the recovery here.

At least 38 Ida-related deaths have been confirmed in New York (15) and New Jersey (23 so far, and officials fear more may be added to the toll.

NBC New York's Marc Santia reports.
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