Two people are dead and two others are missing after an explosion in a New Jersey neighborhood on Thursday that also left a baby fighting for her life and a teen injured, authorities said.
Police were called to a home in Buena Borough at around 10:35 a.m. Thursday morning, Franklin Township Police Chief Matthew DeCesari said in a news conference Thursday night. When they arrived they found a house fully engulfed in flames, as well as a 1-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl suffering from injuries.
“The residence was fully engulfed when I arrived,” DeCesari said. “All indications are that this thing went up very fast and it was a lot to try to fight.”
Both the baby and teen were airlifted to St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia, he said, with the infant in critical condition, while the teen was considered stable.
Authorities have yet to publicly identify the two people who died and two people missing. However, DeCesari said there had been a 2-year-old boy, a 3-year-old girl and two men, ages 52 and 73, in the residence where the explosion occurred.
Video of the blaze aired by NBC Philadelphia shows at least one home engulfed in flames before appearing to have been completely destroyed after the fire is put out. Police said at least two other homes were also affected by the fire.
Neighbors, including Adriann Macario, told NBC Philadelphia they felt the impact of the blast as far as two blocks away.
“Stuff on top of the bathrooms, like, it fell on the floor because it was that strong,” Macario said.
Investigators determined the fire was caused by an explosion at one of the homes. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, but DeCesari said a criminal investigation was underway.
The police chief said the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Jersey State Police were all involved in the investigation.
Police have asked anyone with video of the explosion or subsequent blaze to submit their footage.