PATERSON — An explosion Tuesday morning destroyed two homes and caused two others to catch on fire.

During a press conference, Fire Chief Michael Postorino said the explosion happened around 9:25 a.m. at 16 and 18 Goshen St., leveling both homes and affected a total of 15 houses in a four-block area.

Postorino said the members of the Paterson Fire Department could hear hissing when they responded to a report of a gas leak and immediately called PSE&G because the odor was so strong. All residents were evacuated from the homes by fire fighters before the explosion.

Postorino would not speculate if the explosion was caused by the leak.

Five firefighters were hospitalized for minor injuries, according to Postorino.

NorthJersey.com reported that the explosion was so powerful that windows at the South Paterson Halal Meat Market three blocks away were shattered. The Ho-Ho-Kus Technical School located less than a mile away was evacuated.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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