Newfield, NJ – A neighborhood in the small town in Gloucester County, about 40 miles south of Philly, was shattered Saturday morning after an apparent gas explosion demolished the house of an elderly couple, killing both occupants.
The couple, identified as John Paladino, 73, and Carole Paladino, 72, were the only people inside their home when the blast occurred shortly after 6 a.m. Investigators have not revealed what caused the blast but have said they do not suspect any foul play.
Neighbors said the couple had lived in their home for decades, and it was where they raised their children. An appliance had been delivered on Friday, neighbors said, speculating the blast could be a gas explosion.
The explosion was so powerful that it could be felt several miles away. Utility workers shut off gas lines to dozens of homes as a precaution.
Aside from the Paladinos’ home, a house next door also suffered damage from the debris, according to the Inquirer. An RV was also knocked to its side. A three-pane window and front door of another nearby house had been blown off, as well, according to the Vineland Daily Journal.
Neighbors say the couple had some new appliances delivered over the weekend and worry something happened during or after the installation that led to a gas leak.
Gas companies offer these tips to keep yourself and your family safe:
- Never use a flashlight, match or candle to look for gas leaks, and never turn electric switches on or off if you suspect a gas leak;
- Do not store flammable materials such as mops, brooms, laundry and newspapers near your water heater, furnace, oven, range or any gas appliance;
- Do not store combustible materials such as paints, solvents, and gasoline in the same room as your water heater, furnace, oven, range or any gas appliance.
- Stock your kitchen with a fire extinguisher;
- If a pilot light is out, shut off the gas at the appliance gas shutoff valve. Wait five minutes to let gas disperse before trying to relight the appliance pilot light; and
- Keep an adjustable pipe or crescent wrench or another similar tool near your main shutoff valve so you don’t have to search for one in times of emergency.