Burning home explodes with 5 firefighters still inside

According to officials, five volunteer firefighters were injured while responding to a smoke-filled New Jersey house. A dangerous explosion occurred while the firefighters were still inside.

Crews were dispatched to the scene at 2:15 am Saturday by the Pompton Lakes Volunteer Fire Department in Passaic County after a police sergeant reported smelling smoke.

In an attempt to find the source of the smoke, department officials entered the house using a thermal imaging camera.

At this point, the home exploded and first responders who were handling the hose line were injured. There were also firefighters trapped in the basement of the home.

All of them managed to escape the scene on their own. Officials said the two of the volunteer firefighters were treated for burns at St. Barnabus Hospital and later released. Another three people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

The lone resident, who claims that he did not know how the blaze started, was also evacuated from the burning home.

In an interview with NorthJersey.com, Pompton Lakes Fire Chief Jason Ekkers said, “I thought we were going to have six fatalities, I really did.”

The fire chief continued, stating: “They managed to climb out of the basement with compromised stairs. They all helped each other out, they came out one at a time and we were at the back door, just feeding them out.”