Home explodes in flood zone in north NJ

August 29, 2011 4:48:05 AM PDT
A house exploded in an evacuated neighborhood along a Hurricane Irene flooded river in northern New Jersey early Monday, sending a cloud of smoke over the area as firefighters sought to contain the flames from a boat.

Bill Hartman, who lives nearby, told News 12 New Jersey he bolted up in bed as his house and windows shook because of the blast. He said he saw a "huge ball of thick smoke."

Pompton Lakes Police Lt. Ronald Thomas said it was assumed no one was in the house because of the evacuation, and there were no reports of any injuries.

Natural gas service had not been turned off in the neighborhood, he said.

Television news footage showed the house was leveled.

Pompton Lakes is one of the areas of northern New Jersey expected to see record flooding because three rivers surround the town.

River levels were expected Monday to hit records around the state, bringing a second of misery even with Irene long gone.