Gas explosion levels southern New Jersey building

PENNSVILLE, N.J. (WTXF) -- Officials are investigating a building explosion and fire in South Jersey. Gas company workers were right out front when the building blew.

A video taken moments after the blast shows the intense flames and firefighters working for two hours to get that fire under control.

It is amazing that no one was hurt or even killed. It was quite an explosion the blast could be felt throughout the neighborhood. The damage so extensive it's already been leveled.

When Marc Youngcourt looked out his front door, he saw flames shooting from attorney John Jordan's law office on north Broadway in Pennsville.

"Then I saw it boom. It was burning like crazy. The whole side of the house blew out," Youngcourt said.

Jordan, who is also a municipal judge, just happened to be out of town. Fortunately the 19-year old who lives on the second floor apartment had already left for the day only to get a call. His place was on fire.

Frank Servais, a Pennsville volunteer fire fighter, says he lost everything and has no insurance, but he's just glad no one was inside at the time.

The attorney's secretary was only 10 minutes away from work when the building blew.

"Try to act strong. I just keep thinking about it, but it's all stuff you know." Servais said. "Could easily been four people killed."

Police Chief Allen Cummings took this cell phone video as he arrived on the fiery scene. Cummings says New Jersey gas has been installing new gas lines along this stretch of road for several months.

He says it appears the contractor may have hit a line.

"We do know the fire started in the basement with an explosion and we are wondering if maybe the construction company working on the gas lines ignited something, we are not sure," Cummings said.

78-year old Linwood Lake lives right next door. He'd just run out for a cup of coffee and came home to chaos.

"Saw the whole house full of was shooting across the road," Lake said. Real frightened, real frighten that's one of those things you think can't happen to you."

The fire so strong it melted the siding right off of Lake's home of 45 years.

South Jersey gas released a statement this afternoon saying is working with emergency personnel to investigate what happened, but so far no specific cause.

The building has been torn down and the gas lines here capped.