WATCH: Garbage truck explodes in fireball, rips hole in nearby

Garbage truck explodes

Garbage Truck / December 30, 2016

A total of four houses were damaged in the 2 p.m. explosion.

One the truck's four natural gas tanks exploded in the fire and rocketed into the front of Doris Pattley's home on Fitzrandolph Street, just off Lalor Street, officials said.

Hamilton firefighters Leonard Pope and Steve Lykes had just pulled Pattley from the rear of her home when the truck exploded, officials said.

The explosion shot debris into a second home across from Pattley's, tearing a hole in the roof.

Two other houses suffered broken windows and melted siding.

Pattley said she was in her living room when the truck exploded. "And I ran into the kitchen."

"I saw big pieces of steel and stuff like that come flying into my kitchen, " Pattley said.

She decided to retreat to the rear of her property, running into the backyard, where the firefighters helped her over a fence to safety.

Cindy Partyka, who lives about five houses away, was collecting her garbage cans when she realized the truck was on fire after seeing the driver backing up to her house.

She grabbed her cellphone and recorded the fire and explosion. "I was amazed at how it exploded, " she said.

Hamilton police Capt. James Stevens said the truck's two operators reported smoke coming into the truck's cab and they evacuated the vehicle and reported the fire. Neither was injured.

"The tank that exploded was like a missile, " Stevens said. Four homes will be temporarily uninhabitable, he said.

Township police detectives, fire investigators and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the fire.