Number of uninhabitable units raised to 20 in N.J. townhome blast

Ewing Township officials now say as many as 20 townhomes damaged in yesterday’s gas explosion are beyond repair. The number is twice what they estimated last night. 

Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann says an additional 35 homes were damaged but salvageable. Township officials updated the media at news conference this morning at 11:30 a.m. 

NBC10 reports that police have identified the woman killed in the blast as Linda Cerritelli, a 62 year-old Johnson & Johnson employee. She lived in a townhome that was destroyed during the explosion. J&J says she was a regional office coordinator for the company.

Of the seven injured, all working with PSE&G, four have been treated and released, three remain hospitalized with one of them listed in critical but stable condition. 

Steinmann says PSE&G is fully cooperating with his investigation and he has more questions than answers. It was a PSE&G contractor Henkels and McCoy that marked where the gas lines were and began digging when it hit a gas line. 

On whether new procedures should be adopted in the wake of the explosion Steinmann was unsure. “Personally I don’t know what else could change. I think they did everything properly as far as marking out and that process. It’s just a matter of who made a mistake, if they made a mistake. So that’s basically – maybe there was an equipment malfunction? I have absolutely no idea – at this particular point in time,” Steinmann said. 

Ewing officials plan to hold the next news conference at 4:30 p.m. at the Ewing Township Municipal Building.

(Revised 3:31 p.m. An earlier version incorrectly attributed a quote in the story to Lt. Ron Lunetta. It was Mayor Steinmann who is quoted here)


The Associated Press contributed to this report


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