A local fire official says the gas leak that killed a Ewing woman and devastated a housing development last week was not called in to the fire department for more than an hour, the Times of Trenton reports.

Town houses damaged by explosion in Ewing (Brian McCarthy, OnScene News)

The newspaper story, posted on NJ.com, quotes West Trenton Chief Ralph Brandmaier as saying firefighters were called only after the massive explosion, when frantic residents began dialing 911.

“Our guys asked for the first alarm before they left the station,” Brandmaier told the newspaper.

At that point, he said, gas had been leaking for more than an hour after a work crew from Henkels & McCoy, a utility contractor, believed they'd hit a gas line in the community.

Brandmaier told the paper the failure to report a gas leak was unusual and prevented an earlier response and evacuation by firefighters, which might have prevented the death of homeowner Linda Cerretelli. The 62-year-old woman died in the blast, which also injured several workers at the scene.