Heroic neighbor helped wake up residents moments before NJ home exploded

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PATERSON, N.J. -- Fayez Nouri knew something was wrong as soon as he parked his car along Goshen Street in Paterson Tuesday morning.

"You could hear the gas," Nouri said.

Nouri wasn't alone. Other neighbors were outside screaming to call 911 as they could smell the gas as well. Nouri grabbed a bullhorn from the store he owned on the corner and used it to wake everyone up.

"We started knocking on everyones door," Nouri recalled.

Meanwhile, Maria Camacho was one of the first people to call 911 after she woke up to a strong odor of gas. She woke her family up, grabbed her two kids and ran down the block as first responders arrived.

"It was so thick, the smell," recalls Camacho. "You could hear the hissing."

About 15 minutes after Camacho's 911 call, the explosion rocked the whole neighborhood. Nouri, who was making sure everyone was off the block, was still on the street, just 20 feet away.

"The debris flew over my head," Nouri said.

Two homes were left in complete rubble while a third will likely need to be torn down. The American Red Cross was quickly on the scene, assisting with those displaced. A total of nine families will need to find new housing, but all thankful to be alive.

Many of those families are crediting Nouri for his warning.

"When you do good, you do it for your own and God pays you back in a million ways."