NJ woman fighting eviction blows herself up in house full of cats
🔴 A woman being served an eviction notice threatened to blow up the house
🔴 The fatal explosion rocked the neighborhood just after 11 a.m.
🔴 UPDATE: Some cats may have survived
ROOSEVELT — A woman is dead along with her dozens of cats after following through with her threat to blow up her house.
UPDATE: Officials now believe cats may have survived and could be hiding
State Police Lt. Lawrence Peele said a woman being served an eviction notice at her home on Cedar Court in Roosevelt refused to leave and told the trooper she would blow up the house.
An explosion rocked the neighborhood just after 11 a.m. sending smoke into the air, engulfing the house in flames and totally destroying it.
The woman, who was the lone occupant of the house, did not survive the blast, according to Peele.
Peele would not confirm the woman had cats or who disclose the woman's name pending notification of family. Roosevelt Mayor Peggy Malkin told the Asbury Park Press that the woman worked as a pet sitter and had constructed a "cat house" for them to live in separately.
Officials at the scene said that it appeared that the animals did not survive.
Neighbor loses "everything"
Neighbors who gathered to watch the aftermath of the told New Jersey 101.5 that the woman's boyfriend had been trying to evict her from the house for several years. That effort was stopped temporarily by Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order during the pandemic but continued when the order ended Aug. 31, 2021.
Emma Quackenbush said she had lived in a second residence attached to the house for 22 years and lost everything in the fire.
"It looks like my house is gone. It's still standing but it's not livable," Quackenbush told New Jersey 101.5.
Two firefighters injured
JCP&L cut the electricity to the neighborhood and New Jersey Natural Gas shut the gas off while firefighters from several surrounding towns from Monmouth and Mercer counties extinguished the flames.
The fire was brought under control by 1:35 p.m. The state fire marshal said firefighters were also injured.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.