MANTUA — What blew up in South Jersey on Thursday night?

Mantua Police issued a mysterious message just before 10:30 p.m. on their Facebook page that the department would be "disposing of an unknown substance" in the area of Harrison Avenue and Berleley Road, which is an open field bordered by some homes.

Some of the intrigue was lifted on Friday morning in a new Facebook post by Capt. David Mastrogaicomo, who wrote the substance of "questionable nature" was found while police were responding to a domestic violence assault, and decided the safest course of action was to detonate it.

"The loud concussive noise heard at 12:18 am was the authorities rendering the substance and area safe," Mastrogaicomo wrote. He did not identify the substance.

One person involved in the domestic violence incident was taken into custody and turned over to the Gloucester County Sheriff's Department, he said. The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office took over the investigation, according to Mastrogaicomo.

In the comments section of the original post at 12:43 a.m. police wrote that "everything is OK" and said that while they did not know exactly what the substance was they were exploding was, they took the action to be "safe."

People posted they could hear the explosion seven miles away in Woodbury Heights and five miles away in West Deptford.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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