One Reported Dead in New Jersey Explosion
A contractor at the site of the explosion was previously fined by regulators for safety violations.
Authorities Identify Woman Killed in Explosion
The victim killed in the blast was identified through dental records as Linda Cerritelli, 62, a resident of the house leveled in the blast.
She was a regional office coordinator for a prescription drug unit of the health products giant Johnson & Johnson, the company confirmed. The seven people injured were workers, their injuries were reported to be non-life threatening by Jayne O’ Conner of Capital Health Medical Center.
A temporary shelter is being provided at a local fire station for people who were unable to reenter their homes, and others are staying with friends and family.
Public Service Electric & Gas were called to examine a gas line that may have been accidentally damaged by a contractor of Henkels & McCoy. The explosion occurred an hour after the PSE&G workers began to repair the line.
Henkels & McCoy Previously Fined for Safety Violations
Henkels & McCoy was cited last year by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations involving signaling, warning signs and protection of workers during excavations. They also had been fined more than $100,000 by other safety regulators for problems on two other sites – $70,000 in March 2013 for safety violations at a site in Bayonne and $42,000 for violations in Neptune in August.
In a news conference, the director of gas construction at PSE&G, Mike Gaffney, said that the utility had a long standing relationship with the firm and that they had done good work in the past with no problems.
PSE&G are still unsure what happened to cause the explosion or where the point of ‘ignition’ was, but they are working with officials on the investigation.