Cigarette, oxygen-tank leak cause NJ car explosion

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Fireman work on a car after it exploded and burned on Hudson Street in Hackensack, N.J., Tuesday, Feb. 28. 2012. A man with emphysema was smoking a cigarette with seven oxygen tanks in the back of his car before the explosion. (AP Photo/ Bill Kostroun)

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey fire officials say an 82-year-old homeless man with emphysema accidentally caused a car explosion when his cigarette ignited gas from a leaking oxygen tank inside his vehicle.

The Record (http://bit.ly/zmokD3) reports four people — the man, two police officers and Fire Department Lt. Stephen Lindner — were hurt in Tuesday's explosion in Hackensack. Lindner and the officers escaped serious injury, while the man only suffered superficial injuries.

Officials say Lindner was approaching the smoke-filled car with a hose when it exploded. Moments earlier, an employee of a nearby store had pulled the man from the car.

Fire Chief Matt Wagner told the newspaper the man, who wasn't identified, uses about a tank of oxygen a day and was storing them and his other possessions in his car.

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Information from: The Record, http://www.northjersey.com