POMPTON LAKES, New Jersey: New Jersey authorities have said that a house where smoke had been reported exploded while volunteer firefighters were inside, injuring five and sending two to a local hospital.
On its facebook page, the Pompton Lakes Volunteer Fire Department in Passaic County said that firefighters were dispatched after a police sergeant reported smelling smoke coming from a home.
After members of the department entered the home, it " literally exploded, injuring some members manning the hose line at the back of the home and partially trapping others in the basement," officials said, as reported by Reuters.
All firefighters escaped, though two were transferred to St. Barnabus Hospital where they were treated for burns and released, while three others were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
Police also evacuated the house's lone resident, who told authorities he did not know how the blaze started.
"I thought we were going to have six fatalities, I really did," Pompton Lakes Fire Chief Jason Ekkers told NorthJersey.com.
In an interview with NorthJersey.com, Olivia Alvarez, 17, said she was looking out the window from her second-floor bedroom across the street when she saw smoke coming from the rear of the home and "thought it was a car or something," and then "just saw it all explode."
"The whole house lifted off the ground, then hit the ground again. The entire house, in one piece," she said.