NEWFIELD, N.J. – A house exploded in New Jersey early Saturday, killing a husband and wife and reducing the two-story home to piles of scattered rubble, but no foul play was suspected, authorities said.
The blast initially reported as a gas explosion shattered windows in nearby homes, KYW-TV reported. Debris was strewn over several blocks, and pieces could be seen hanging from a tree and power line.
John Paladino, 73, and Carole Paladino, 72, were the only occupants of the Newfield home when the blast occurred at 6:15 a.m. Saturday, the Gloucester County prosecutor's office said. Autopsies on the victims were slated for Sunday.
Prosecutors said the cause and origin of the explosion remained under investigation by their office and the county fire marshal, but no foul play is suspected.
Neighbors said the Paladinos had a new stove delivered on Friday, but it wasn't clear if officials believed the explosion was related to the appliance, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"At this time, the (cause) is still being evaluated," said South Jersey Gas spokesperson Marissa Travaline, the newspaper reported. Utility crews arrived within 20 minutes of the blast and suspended service to 15 homes while emergency responders worked to get the scene under control, Travaline said.
Friends told the Inquirer that Carole Paladino was a retired school nurse from the Millville Public Schools while her husband worked part-time at the DeMarco-Luisi Funeral Home in Vineland and was taking care of his wife.
"Just good people," said Wayne Ingling, a family friend from Vineland as he stood down the street. "It shakes you up. It's a really bad scene up there."
Multiple fire crews responded to the blast along township police, a state police arson-bomb unit and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This story has been corrected to show Ingling is a family friend, not a neighbor.