South Amboy, NJ – Investigators were trying to determine the cause of a house explosion at 411 South Feltus Street in South Amboy.

(4/3/2010)

A New Jersey community was picking up the pieces Friday night after a massive explosion flattened a neighbor’s house earlier in the day.

People spent the night picking up splintered wood and twisted metal from their yards — just a tiny piece of the overall destruction that put two people in the hospital.

Nicole Dale said she was stunned to find out that huge boom was actually her neighbor’s South Amboy bungalow exploding.

“It was insane. I thought a plane crashed,” Dale said.

The blast sent a massive rumble through the neighborhood on Feltus Street.

“I thought that two cars were crashing,” neighbor Elizabeth Hogan said.

“The whole house shook and it just exploded. It’s incredible. It looks like a house from Hurricane Katrina. It looks like it was hit by a hurricane,” Dale said.

Police said the tenants, 49-year-old Richard Pezzano and 33-year-old Marie Scott, were inside the home and suffered burns to 80 percent of their bodies. Miraculously, they survived.

Elena DeJesus and her boyfriend own the rental property, which looked like any other house in the neighborhood before the explosion.

“It could have been anyone, anyone, us, me, him,” DeJesus said.

PSE&G inspectors said they had received a complaint of a natural gas odor in the neighborhood less than an hour before the explosion, but they said their investigation came up negative.

“We checked the front of that house. We checked the front of the curb line and the foundation and there was no evidence of natural gas in the ground or coming out of our facilities,” said PSE&G’s Mike Schmid.

The power company said they did not find any gas leaks from any of their main lines. Fire investigators suspect a leak from an appliance in the home may be to blame.

“There appears to have been a gas buildup in the dwelling. And at some point there may have been an open flame introduced to that gas pocket,” said South Amboy/Sayreville Fire Investigator Kevin Krushinski.

Some residents were nervous not knowing the exact cause and were hoping their lives aren’t in danger.

“It’s unbelievable. I mean luckily … it could have been worse I guess,” Mike Hogan said