Several people, including utility workers and firefighters, have been injured in a gas explosion that destroyed a home in Stafford Township, authorities said.

Aftermath of a home explosion on Oak Avenue in Manahawkin (Ocean County Sheriff)

According to Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy, the eruption occurred while fire crews probed the source of a gas leak in a two inch gas main on Oak Avenue near Route 9 sending smoke and flames into the air.

7 New Jersey Gas workers ,6 firefighters and 2 EMTs were injured in the explosion according to Stafford Police Captain Thomas Delane, who says the gas employees are in critical condition.

Delane says the home was unoccupied at the time.

The Ocean County Sheriff's Department says the gas leak was contained around 12:30 p.m. Route 9 was reopened at Oak Avenue at 2:30 p.m.

A Nixle alert from Stafford Police says 75-100 residents in the immediate have been evacuated. The blast shattered the windows of a home across the street

Kinney says right now they’re focused on restoring safety to the area and had no explanation as to what would cause a gas explosion of this size and wouldn’t speculate.Stafford Police ask anyone without gas in Cedar Run to call 800-221-0051.

Mastronardy says two workers were flown to Atlanticare and the rest went to Southern Ocean County Medical Center.

Remnants of a Stafford home following a gas explosion.(Ocean County Sheriff)

Stafford Police on their Facebook page say there are no schools in the immediate area and have not been affected by the blast. "They are carrying out normal school day operations. Any rumors to the contrary are false," reads the message.

Oak Avenue remains sealed from Route Nine to Perkins Lane as cleanup from the explosion continues. The mayor told NBC10 that the gas smell is lingering in the area and urged anyone smelling gas in their home should open their windows and leave their home immediately.

Route 9 remains closed through the area.

"It looks like a war area," said Max Von Ness, a plowing contractor who was nearby when the explosion occurred. "It's just destruction. There's debris all over the place." Von Ness, of Stafford Township, said he was driving in the area when he heard a loud explosion and felt the ground shake.
"It was kind of like a mini-earthquake," he said. "You were thinking it was like a bomb

Readers on the Facebook page of Townsquare Media's WPG Talk Radio 1450 commented about hearing a loud explosion. "(My) whole house shook in Ocean Acres," wrote Amy Corbett.  Adina Roskos, who live off of Oak Avenue said she heard a noise "so loud (I) thought my roof exploded." The Asbury Park Press reports the explosion was heard as far as Lacey and Waretown.

There was a smell of gas in the area around 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning. The explosion occurred around 10 a.m. according to 6 ABC.

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Chris Coleman contributed to this report.