Note: This story has been updated with additional information.
UPDATES: Residents of the evacuated area were able to return to their homes before 4 a.m. Monday according to borough police, who say an investigation by the FBI, ATF and Bethlehem Bomb Squad determined the explosion was caused by an accidental “free-air fuel explosion” inside the vehicle that blew apart.
As of 11:50 p.m. the bomb squad had not yet cleared the scene, Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp said. Evacuations will remain in place until the bomb squad determines it is safe for residents to return to their homes.
As of 10:20 p.m., the Bethlehem Bomb Squad was heading to Hellertown to assist with the investigation into what caused the concussion, and residents who live between E. Clarke Street and Wilson Avenue in the area of the incident were being evacuated.
Residents of Hellertown and eastern Lower Saucon Township reported that a large explosion shook their homes at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night.
According to numerous reader posts on the Saucon Source Facebook page, the “ground zero” area for the explosion was a car in the 1300 block of First Avenue near St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Roman Catholic church, between Main Street and Easton Road in Hellertown.
A photo of the car that exploded–a white sedan–shows the vehicle in pieces in the street, and readers reported that various car parts including a side view mirror and windshield were blown well clear of the vehicle.
According to eyewitness reports, at least one person was injured in the explosion.
That person was photographed being taken away on a stretcher to a waiting Dewey EMS ambulance.
Sirens were reported to be heard throughout the Saucon Valley as first responders raced to the scene of the incident.
Hundreds of concerned readers took to social media to report the explosion and inquire about what had caused it.
Most said their homes literally shook from the force of the massive blast.
Stay with Saucon Source for updates on this developing story.
Contributed photos below by Ryan Dierolf