Boiler Blast Jangles Nerves In Flood-Weary Manville, N.J.

Jobs and WorkplaceHurricane Irene (2011)HealthPublic Service Electric & Gas Company

A couple of Public Service Electric and Gas Company utility workers are in the hospital, following an explosion, that resulted in one of them being blown several feet away.

Authorities say the Manville Fire Department got a call just after 2 p.m. Saturday about an explosion at 112 Huff Ave. Firefighters arrived to find two PSE&G employees with severe steams burns. They were reportedly there to check out the boiler in the basement, before it blew sky high.

According to a report on nj.com, they were airlifted to Saint Barnabas Burn Center in Livingston, while the homeowner was taken to Somerset County Medical Center in Somersville, treated for cuts and bruises and released.

The workers were apparently on the way to the basement when the explosion occurred, blowing the basement staircase from beneath them and shattering windows in the house, which was flooded out last week, courtesy Hurricane Irene. The department thinks mounting pressure in the boiler may've caused the blast.

Initially, emergency officials called in the blast as a gas explosion, but according to PSE&G, that wasn't the case. "It was not a gas explosion," said Mike Schmid, director of appliance field services for the utility. "There's a number of things that could have caused it. I don't want to speculate," stressing this is still an open investigation.

PSE&G says the workers are the first employees hurt in the midst of storm repairs. Saturday's explosion comes as people try to get back to normal, following Hurricane Irene and the flooding it unleashed on the area.

Meanwhile, building officials are trying to determine if the house is still sound, structurally.

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