Building with office, apartment explodes in Pennsville, N.J.

Walter Perez Image
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
VIDEO: Building with office, apartment explodes in Pennsville
A building was destroyed by an explosion on Tuesday in Pennsville, New Jersey.

PENNSVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) -- A building that houses a law office and an apartment was destroyed by an explosion on Tuesday morning in Pennsville, New Jersey.

It was a bit past 8:00 when the building on North Broadway in Pennsville exploded.

A contractor, Kline Construction, was working to replace aging gas lines in the area and struck a main, according to the local police chief. It is believed that gas then built up in the basement and the pilot in the heater caused the explosion, authorities say.

The heat from the resulting blaze melted the siding on a neighboring home, and simply obliterated the building where the explosion took place.

It took firefighters nearly two hours to get the ensuing fire under control.

The building houses a law office on the first floor and an apartment on the second.

19-year-old Frank Servais, who just happens to be a local volunteer firefighter and musician, was renting that apartment.

He says, "I lost pretty much everything. All my music equipment, recording equipment, MacBook, everything."

The law office was occupied by municipal Judge John Jordan, better known as the attorney representing the man accused of murdering a TSA agent inside Los Angeles International Airport two years ago.

Jordan is out of town on business and his two assistants were still on their way to work when the explosion took place.

That's why Pennsville Police Chief Alan Cummings says he is grateful this incident ended the way it did.

Cummings says, "The construction guys were working and obviously the explosion happened and everyone pretty much scattered at the time. So, really lucky I think. Could have been a lot worse."

Local officials say the gas lines being replaced were very old and there were at least two other reported gas leaks during the replacement process over the past few months.

South Jersey Gas says they have launched an investigation, but at this time they have not determined how this happened. Officials there say they are just happy that no one was injured.