MANCHESTER — Two businesses damaged by the explosion of a tanker truck on Route 37 early Wednesday morning are open.

The explosion sent a fireball into the sky after a tanker truck hit a Honda that had struck a deer and became disabled in the middle of the road. The cab and the tanker became separated, causing the gas to spill and the tanker to explode in a massive fireball.

One of the businesses near where the tanker caught fire, Gregory's Seafood Market & Restaurant, was damaged but reopened on Thursday.

"Thank you to all for your concerns, we appreciate the thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful the building is still standing and that everyone involved is safe," the restaurant said on its Facebook page.

"It melted the vinyl siding on the side of the building, it melted some wires," owner Gregory Knuse told New Jersey 101.5. "It melted some plastic we have outside and the cables but inside we were OK."

The only damage to the tent on the side of the building that covers a dining area was a crease, according to Knuse, adding that it is fire retardant.

A photo of the exterior of the office of Farmers Insurance agent Dylan Chapman showed melted siding on the front of the building.

Chapman told New Jersey 101.5 that he and his staff are safe but working outside the office.

Cab of tanker truck that exploded after a crash on Rt 37 in Manchester
Cab of tanker truck that exploded after a crash on Rt 37 in Manchester (OCSN)

Sounded like 'somebody just dropped a bomb'

He didn't know how hot the fire was but was surprised at the damage, considering it was 100 feet from the restaurant, which is set 40-60 feet from the highway.

Marissa Patterson, the driver of the Honda hit by the tanker truck, was standing on the side of the road when the tanker exploded. She told NBC New York it sounded like "somebody just dropped a bomb."

Patterson told NBC New York that first responders praised her decision to get out of her car otherwise she would be dead.


Explosion from a tanker truck fire on Route 37 in Manchester
Explosion from a tanker truck fire on Route 37 in Manchester (Ocean County Sheriff's Office)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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