Upper Freehold, NJ – A faulty propane stove caused an explosion that injured four people in a hunting trailer fire on Jonathan Holmes Road Jan. 27.
According to the New Jersey State Police, its Arson/Bomb Unit investigated the fire in the trailer, where six members of the South Orange Rod and Gun Club met before they were supposed to go on a hunting excursion in the area on Saturday around 7:05 a.m.
“The propane explosion was accidental and not suspicious in nature,” Stephen Jones, a state police spokesperson, reported on Jan. 29.
According to Jones, the explosion occurred when the hunters using the trailer, which is owned by Jonathan Holmes Road residents, lit a propane stove to warm it up. One of the lines on the stove was not properly secured and propane filled the room and eventually ignited.
Four people were injured with various degrees of burns as a result of the explosion. Three were still in hospitals on Jan. 29, according to information Jones provided prior to press time.
Raymond L. Mass, 53, of Red Bank, was in critical condition with reported burns to his hands, knees and face at Helene Fuld Medical Center in Trenton, according to the state police.
Robert Hoegler, 42, of Monroe Township, and a 13-year-old from Monroe Township both went to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton. Jim Hilton, 64, of Brick, was treated on the scene and released, according to the state police.
The fire also caused structural damage to the trailer, according to the state police.
The state police and its Arson/Bomb Unit responded to the scene and investigated the incident, as did the state’s Department of Community Affairs Division of Fire Safety, according to the state police.