Off-duty officer pulls injured victim from rubble after explosion levels New Jersey home

WABC-TV(RIDGEFIELD, N.J.) -- An off-duty officer rushed to the scene after a Ridgefield, New Jersey, home exploded, rescuing an injured man from the collapsed home.

Police, fire and PSE&G officials arrived at the multi-floor, single family home shortly before 11:30 a.m. Officers heard the victim, who was alone in the house, moaning as a fire consumed the property.

Off-duty police officer and 14-year veteran Hagop Cigercioglu, who lives a block away, said he worked with other officers to help lift a large "plank of wood" to allow the man to crawl out from under the debris of the collapsed home.

"As I called to him, he did respond. He gave his name, and I advised him of the house that was on fire, that he needed to crawl out," Cigercioglu said. "We were able to take some wood out to make a big enough hole where he crawled out. And several officers and I helped him get out of the house."

That victim has not been identified, according to ABC owned station WABC-TV. He was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center in stable condition.

Meanwhile, Ridgefield Police Chief Thomas Gallagher said other officers worked to contain the fire around them, which was being fed by a gas leak. It is unclear whether the gas leak was a result of the explosion.

PSE&G officials were able to turn off the gas and the Ridgefield Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said surrounding houses do not have gas, and electricity will also be cut as they work at the scene.

Bergen County prosecutors and the New Jersey state division of fire safety is investigating the cause of the explosion.

One firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion and two police officers were also treated for minor injuries.

"This is a sad situation," said Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez. "Fortunately for the borough it could've been a heck of a lot worse."

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