A house exploded early Sunday in Piscataway and the homeowner was burned, but survived the fiery blast, witnesses said.
The house on Hopkinson Avenue was completely leveled. The burned-out shell of a car could be seen amid the smoldering remains.
Mayor Brian Wahler said gas appears to be the cause, citing "the size of the explosion - the house was blown off its foundation. And there's literally nothing left of the house."
The homeowner, who is a municipal worker for a nearby town, was blown outside of the house by the force of the blast, officials said.
He was critically injured with second-degree burns, firefighters say.
"I ran out and I saw my neighbor, Jim, falling out of the debris with flames all around him," David Pirozzi said.
The victim quickly moved a truck away from the flames, then collapsed on the lawn, Pirozzi said. Neighbors moved him onto another lawn farther from the flames.
"It sounded like thunder, it woke me up out of a dead sleep," said another neighbor, John Orlitta. He said the explosion was so loud that it set off car alarms.