NJ woman, 97, survives home explosion

Chopper 6 HD was over the rubble left after a house explosion in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.

January 12, 2011 3:37:08 PM PST
A 97-year-old woman survived an explosion in Cinnaminson, New Jersey on Tuesday night that reduced her home to rubble.

Marion Sands had just been to a local McDonald's for dinner with a friend when she drove home through the snowstorm.

She later told neighbors she arrived at home around 9:00 p.m. and smelled the odor of natural gas. She started to call gas company PSE&G when her home exploded.

Sands was found by neighbors standing outside and clutching her beloved dog. Her cordless phone was still in her hand.

Bill O'Connor lives next door and his home was damaged, but is relieved that his elderly neighbor survived the blast.

"She's out and about, nothing slows her down, God bless her, she was very lucky last night," O'Connor said.

The next-door home of Ryan Horner was badly damaged by the blast. A wall was blown in leaving furniture and glass everywhere. That wall was part of a bedroom where Horner's daughter would have normally been sleeping.

Instead, his children - ranging in age from two to five - were with their dad in the family room watching a movie.

He became emotional recalling the night and his neighbors kindness for taking the children.

"I have great neighbors," Horner said fighting back tears.

While the blast seems to have been caused by gas, no official determination of the cause has yet been made.

"Anything is possible. Maybe somebody tampered with the utilities - there have been cases of that," said Sgt. Bill Covert of the Cinnaminson Police. "I don't think that is the case here but, until everything is ruled out, we treat it as a crime scene."

Sands was in stable condition on Wednesday at the hospital. Her dog is also recovering from the ordeal.