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Like a Missile': N.J. Garbage Truck Explodes, Rips Hole Through Home, Damages Others


"I saw big pieces of steel and stuff like that come flying into my kitchen."

On the heels of one of the harshest winter storms to rip through the East Coast in recent memory, some New Jersey residents' situation went from bad to worse when a garbage truck exploded, leaving four houses damaged.

The dump truck blew up after catching fire on a street in Hamilton, New Jersey, Tuesday afternoon, causing one of the truck's four natural gas tanks to to explode and rocket into one nearby home.

"I saw big pieces of steel and stuff like that come flying into my kitchen," Hamilton resident Doris Pattley, who was in her living room when the tank shot into her house, told

The explosion also caused debris to tear through the roof of the house directly across from Pattley's residence, and two other houses ended up with melted siding and broken windows.

Ultimately, there were four houses severely damaged by the explosion, but no injuries were reported.

One nearby neighbor, who was collecting her garbage bins when she saw flames coming from the truck, caught the entire event on her cellphone. She said she was "amazed" at how the utility vehicle exploded.

"The tank that exploded was like a missile," Hamilton Police Capt. James Stevens said. The police report said the two truck operators noticed smoke filling the cab and immediately evacuated the vehicle and called 911.

The fire is currently being investigated by police detectives, fire investigators and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.

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