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Ridgefield Gas Explosion Victim, 48, Dies

Requiescat in pace, Mark Schellack, 48.
Requiescat in pace, Mark Schellack, 48. Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

UPDATE: A 48-year-old Ridgefield man who was burned on 80% of his body in an explosion that leveled his home on Monday succumbed to his injuries, authorities said Tuesday.

Mark Schellack, who lived alone, was rescued from beneath the rubble of his garage by an off-duty police officer who lives nearby and two uniformed borough officers following the explosion on Abbott Avenue near Elizabeth Street just before 11:30 a.m. Monday.

He was first taken to Hackensack University Medical Center before being flown to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, where he was later pronounced dead early Tuesday.

Family members summoned a priest Monday night and were "praying for a miracle," one said.

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said an investigation by his arson unit was continuing, although he said "it appears that the source was natural gas" from inside the house.

"PSE&G conducted a pressure test and concluded that there were not any leaks in the gas line spanning from the street to the home, indicating that the explosion was exclusive to an event within the residence," the prosecutor said Tuesday.  

It took firefighters nearly 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze -- a task made easier once a PSE&G crew arrived and closed the gas line.

All area homes in a one-block radius were evacuated as a precaution.

PHOTO: Chris Szerkal for DAILY VOICE

PHOTO: Cecilia Levine

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

PHOTO: Chris Szerkal for DAILY VOICE

COURTESY: CBS2 NEW YORK

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