Massive building explosion in Harrison, NJ

Investigators try to determine cause of Harrison explosion

Posted: Updated:
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

There's no word yet what sparked a five-alarm fire in Harrison, New Jersey that injured five Jersey City firefighters. The fire Sunday morning apparently started in a restaurant on the ground floor of a two-story building.

A massive back draft explosion went off and rocked the block.

The firefighters are expected to be ok.  At least six families were homeless as a result of the fire. 

Cell phone video showed the massive back draft explosion as it erupted in a flaming building on Frank E. Rogers Boulevard. 

"First it was some then after the explosion the flames came out and went into the homes," said Diego Basante. 

"I heard a noise and I saw smoke going up into the air," said eyewitness Donna Padovano. "It was very scary, there were flames coming from every single window."

Firefighters were here fighting an existent fire and when the blast went off some went flying through the air. 

"They were literally thrown out of the building by the smoke explosion," said Harrison Fire Capt. Robert Gille. 

The five Jersey City firefighters were rushed to the hospital. Fire Captain Gille says two were held for further examination and at least one suffered serious cuts and another reported chest pains. 

The fire also spread upstairs to the Dios Luz and Vida church, where Sunday morning services were underway. 

"We had just finished prayer and worship when I walked past the door and I saw a lot of people and they were yelling fire!" 

Jackeline Flores, the granddaughter of the church's pastor, helped evacuate more than 50 people from the church. 

"When the explosion happened we saw the firefighters pull back and we saw one person injured on the ground, that's when it hit us our church was lost," Flores said. 

Flores says the congregation lost everything in the fire, including newly purchased equipment that was to be used in a special anniversary celebration next month. 

"We're thankful overall God got all of us out save and the materials can be replaced. 

The Red Cross said they were assisting more than 15 people displaced by the fire. The cause remains under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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