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Explosion from gas leak destroys homes, injures several workers

Burlington employees may be interested in the story of a serious workplace accident that injured several New Jersey gas company and emergency workers. The accident destroyed two neighborhood homes and damaged others.

Just before 9 a.m. on Feb. 24, Ocean County police received a report of a strange odor at a home in Cedar Run. Officers and other emergency personnel arrived at the scene and determined that a gas leak was the cause of the odor. Seventy-five homes in the vicinity of the leak were immediately evacuated, and authorities called in the New Jersey Natural Gas Company to determine the source of the leak. While workers were searching for the leak, the home exploded into a shower of debris.

The force of the explosion destroyed one home and damaged several others in the area. Gas company employees were across the street from the source of the blast when it occurred. Seven of the workers were injured with one suffering severe injuries that required emergency resuscitation at the scene. That worker was transported by air to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Trauma Unit along with one other gas company employee. Additionally, several firefighters and two EMTs suffered minor injuries, including possible concussions. According to reports, the force of the explosion could be felt up to a mile away from the blast.

When employer negligence leads to an unsafe working environment, that employee may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, disability and other costs associated with the injury. In some cases, the employer may be responsible for further punitive damages. An attorney with experience in job-site accident cases may be able to assess the situation and bring the appropriate legal action on behalf of the injured employee.

Source: NBC10.com, "New Jersey home 'disintegrated' in gas explosion, 15 injured," Dan Stamm and Kelly Bayliss, Feb. 26, 2015

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