The victim of Tuesday's gas explosion in Ewing Township has been identified as 62-year-old Linda Cerritelli, according to multiple reports.
Public records indicate Cerritelli owned the Crockett Lane townhouse at the epicenter of the blast, which destroyed at least 10 homes and displaced scores of residents. Seven utility workers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The revelation came as Ewing Township officials announced the opening of a call center to coordinate donations for those affected.
“I am aware that many residents are eager to help those people who were affected by yesterday’s tragic incident and have been calling to ask how they can help or make donations,” Mayor Bert Steinmann said in a statement and recorded message released to residents Wednesday.
Those interested in obtaining more information are instructed to call 609-538-7587 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Energy company Public Service Electric & Gas Co., whose employees were responding to a report of a damaged gas line in the South Fork development when the ignition occurred, will “fully cooperate” with the ensuing investigation, according to a statement the company issued Wednesday.
Calling the explosion “an incredible tragedy,” PSE&G said, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the woman who lost her life and to the families who have been displaced from their homes."
The company said it’s committed to “fully cooperating” with the Ewing Police Department's investigation into the explosion’s cause, which remained ongoing Wednesday.
Private contractor Henkels & McCoy, whose employees are believed to have struck the gas line as they performed work for PSE&G, will also cooperate.
“We don’t know yet what caused this accident and we only want to share information that is accurate,” PSE&G said. “The safety of our employees and customers is always our primary goal.”
PSE&G said workers went door-to-door Tuesday night to ensure the safety of residents remaining in their homes and that they will sustain the outreach effort as they work to restore power those bordering the blast.
The company said it won’t be commenting further until the investigation is complete but that they’ve been in discussions with Steinmann about how to best help the community recover.