Construction workers hit gas line, causing apartment fire

An explosion and fire at a Bergenfield, N.J., apartment building killed two people and injured five after construction workers hit a gas line while trying to remove an oil tank, the Associated Press reported.

The blast, which occurred Dec. 13 at 9:30 a.m., blew out windows and sparked a fire that could be seen up to 10 miles away. Utility crews were sent to the area after residents reported smelling gas. The explosion occurred 30 minutes later.

Fire fighters battled the blaze in subfreezing temperatures and evacuated several nearby homes in case the fire spread.

Authorities said Dec. 14 four apartment residents missing since the explosion have been found.

Close to a dozen families were left homeless by the fire.

For more information about the struggle to prevent underground utility strikes, see the Dangerous Digging article in our September magazine.