Teaneck, NJ – Officials believe a house explosion that killed a Teaneck man Thursday was caused by natural gas, but continue to investigate how it happened.
The house’s 66-year-old occupant, Richard Hass, died of blunt force trauma as a result of the explosion, said Teaneck police Detective Capt. Dean Kazinci.
Banji Ganchrow, a next-door neighbor, told The Record of Bergen County she called Public Service Energy & Gas Thursday after she and others in the area smelled a gas odor for weeks.
PSE&G confirmed that crews responded to a report of a gas odor in the area hours before the explosion, but didn’t find any leaks.
PSE&G said crews back at the scene Friday did not find a leak through the service line to the house. They were also not able to find its gas meter, which could provide additional information.
In a statement, PSE&G said it appears that something going on inside the house may have caused the explosion, but would not speculate on what.
Thursday’s explosion caused minor injuries for two men who were walking by the house at the time. They were treated at a local hospital and released.
The explosion also damaged several homes in the area, some of which had to be evacuated. Residents were allowed to return to all but two homes, according to police Capt. Keith Richter. The two homes, deemed unsafe during inspections, were located next to the explosion site and across the street.
Neighbors said they heard and felt the evening explosion.
“My whole house lifted up,” Meryl Arbisfeld told The Record. “I thought there was a bomb in my house. There was a bang, and I started screaming and ran out of the house.”
Janeen Lawlor, a spokeswoman for the state Board of Public Utilities, said the agency would be conducting an investigation on the incident, which will include site visits, interviews and the examination of records.