Jefferson residents were jolted Tuesday evening, November 27, by a large boom, and some even felt their homes shaking. The cause was a house explosion at 33 Grumm Road in Hardyston Township at about 10:50 p.m. Hardyston is approximately 14 miles from Jefferson. Reports of vibrations as far as Totowa and Ridgewood were posted on social media.
The Hardyston, Hamburg, and Franklin fire departments were onsite minutes after the explosion. Other fire departments were on standby at Hardyston’s station #1 (Jefferson/Milton and West Milford) and station #2 (McAfee). According to the Hardyston fire department, the house was empty at the time of explosion and no injuries are reported. All units left the scene by 2 a.m. The house was leveled and is a total loss, per fire officials.
Aandrei Investors, LLC, an investment company formed in 2007, owned the large house that was situated at 33 Grumm Road. Tax records show that the company owns several other properties in the Hardyston area. Aandrei Investors could not be reached for comment.
Wallkill Valley Regional High School is across the street from the blast site. Classes were canceled on Wednesday, November 28, due to structural damage. The extent of the damage was not known at the time of writing. A neighboring home reportedly has window damage. According to the Hardyston Township police, Grumm Road will be closed until further notice.
Social media reported an odor of gas or propane in the vicinity. South Jersey Industries, which recently acquired the natural gas company Elizabethtown Gas, was on the scene following the blast, according to scanner reports. Liz Velez, manager of corporate communication for Elizabethtown Gas, told The Jefferson Chronicle:
“At this time, we have no indication that this is a natural gas related event. Of course, the safety of all those in the communities we serve is our highest priority, and out of an abundance of caution, our Elizabethtown Gas crews are verifying the integrity of any infrastructure we may have in the surrounding area.”
There were also two 100-pound propane tanks in the rear of the property. Fire officials state that the cause of the investigation remains under investigation.