An early morning blaze in Burlington County killed three elderly Pembertown Township residents and leveled their single-story ranch home.
Rescue workers reported hearing two explosions shortly after arriving at 1 a.m. on the 600 block of Marie Drive in the township's Browns Mills section.
Firefighters discovered Young Boo Lee, 74; his wife, Tasuk Lee, 67; and his mother, Myo Sun Lee, 92, inside the charred house.
The intense heat melted the vinyl siding of a house next door.
Sharon and Tim Deist, who live in the adjacent home, said they were startled awake by police shortly after 1 a.m.
"They were banging on our windows and doors and flashing the light around," said Tim Deist, who ran from the house to see his neighbors roof completely engulfed in flames.
An explosion from within the burning home rocked the neighborhood minutes later, Deist said.
Five fire departments put the blaze under control by 2:47 a.m.
Deist, who described the victims as friendly but quiet, was thankful his home only suffered minor damage.
"It was pretty much a miracle [our house] didn't suffer more damage than it did."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.