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House explodes in Hunterdon Co., N.J.; woman's body found

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:31:20 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 29 2013 06:27:57 AM EDT

Woman killed in Hunterdon Co. house explosion



Officials in Hunterdon County, N.J., say a home was destroyed after it exploded Wednesday morning.

State police say an explosion and fire occurred around 7 a.m. at 74 New Street in Hampton.

VIDEO:  House Fire


Police say they've pulled the body of a woman from the rubble of the home.

The woman had been unaccounted for after the explosion and was a resident at the home. She was not the homeowner and was apparently the only one home at the time of the blast.

Authorities haven't released her name, but friends and the home's owner George Tully said she was 56-year-old Deborah Smith.

For about a year and a half she had been renting a room from Tully. He's only alive because he was already at work when his house blew up.

Family helped him search through the rubble to find his deceased wife's ashes.

Officials are not offering a cause for the explosion and fire right now, but Tully says he thinks his hot water tank and propane tank may be to blame.

According to the Elizabethtown Gas Company, responders were on the scene within 15 minutes. Crews inspected the natural gas main in the area and there were no leaks.

The house didn't have natural gas.

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