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Banquet hall explodes in Manville, New Jersey, one of many fires unreachable due to flooding


MANVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) — In a second wave of calamity in the Northeast, fires broke out in swamped homes and businesses in New Jersey Friday, many of them inaccessible to firefighters because of Ida’s floodwaters.

Authorities suspected gas leaks triggered by the flooding fed the flames.

The Saffron Banquet Hall on South Main Street in Manville exploded in flames around 2 a.m., with residents from surrounding towns reporting hearing a loud explosion.

RELATED: At least 25 people killed in New Jersey flooding from Ida

Its owner, Jayesh Mehta, said he felt helpless and heartbroken looking at pictures and videos of his burning business.

Firefighters were unable to access the fire, which is surrounded by a flooded parking lot and also appeared gas-fed.

Newscopter7 was over the scene surveying the damage and found that waters from South Main Street receded overnight in a hopeful sign.

Two other homes on Boesel Avenue and North Second Avenue that caught fire Thursday afternoon continued to smolder Friday morning.

The Boesel Avenue fire also appears to have been caused by an explosion.

Firefighters found those scenes to also be inaccessible.

Somerset County had another fire, on Mercer Street in Somerville, that also started with an explosion, likely from a gas leak caused by floodwaters.

So far, there is no word of any injuries as a result of the fires.

RELATED | How much rain fell in NY, NJ amid historic Ida flooding?

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