MANVILLE — Two houses and a banquet hall exploded in Manville following the flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida where rising waters from three rivers stopped firefighters from reaching the burning structures.

The Saffron banquet hall on South Main Street in Manville exploded in flames around 2 a.m. Friday. The borough's Office of Emergency Management manager John Bentz told NBC 4 New York that firefighters could not reach the fire because of flood water.

Manville resident Tarang Soni on his Facebook page said the explosion of the building that used to be called Rhythms was felt for a wide area.

"The blast could be heard all around the town and neighboring towns too. It was so hard that it shook the entire area and felt like it was earthquake," Soni wrote.

Owner Jayesh Mehta told he felt helpless and heartbroken looking at pictures and videos of his burning business.

“I don’t know what to do and how to deal with something like this,” Mehta said.

A Manville Police Officer stands guard near the remains of a house that exploded due to severe flooding from Tropical Storm Ida in Manville
A Manville Police Officer stands guard near the remains of a house that exploded due to severe flooding from Tropical Storm Ida in Manville (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Fire crews were still hosing down what was left of the building early Friday afternoon. In a Facebook Live post, Mehta said ironically he could use the rain from Ida now to help extinguish the flames burning down his "baby."

"The flood caused all the damages to my banquet hall in Manville. Somehow the flood triggered the gas line underneath and it got burned to ashes," Mehta said.

Firefighters also had difficulty reaching two house that exploded into flames Thursday afternoon on Boesel and North Second Avenues, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

The West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company on its Facebook page sent a fire pump boat to help extinguish the house fires.

A house exploded early Thursday in Rahway as the storm was winding down. The owners of the home told ABC 7 Eyewitness News they had left hours before because of floodwaters.

Fire pump helping fight house fires in Manville
Fire pump helping fight house fires in Manville (West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company)

Manville police on Friday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.

(Includes material copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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