According to authorities, when volunteer firefighters were inside a New Jersey home where the smoke had been reported, the home burst, hurting five of them and sending two to the hospital for burn treatment.
Crews were sent out at around 2:15 in the morning, according to the Facebook page of the Pompton Lakes Volunteer Fire Department in Passaic County.
A police sergeant reported smelling smoke emanating from the house on Saturday.
According to officials, when department members were using a thermal imaging camera to search the house for the cause of the smoke, “the residence burst, injuring some personnel holding the hose line at the back of the property and partially trapping others in the basement.”
They may all leave on their own.
According to officials, two were sent to St. Barnabus Hospital, where they received burn treatment before being released.
Three further people received on-site treatment for minor wounds. The lone tenant, who informed authorities he had no idea how the fire started, was evacuated by police.
Pompton Lakes Fire Chief Jason Ekkers told NorthJersey.com, “I honestly did think we were going to have six fatalities.
“Despite the damaged steps, they could ascend out of the basement. They all assisted one another, emerging one at a time, and we were at the back door, simply feeding them.
Olivia Alvarez, 17, told NorthJersey.com that she “just watched it all erupt” while she was staring out the window of her second-floor bedroom across the street when she first noticed smoke coming from the back of the house and “thought it was a car or something.”
“The entire house rose off the ground before falling back to it. The whole house, undamaged,” she stated.