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1395 byte file appears as 70 Terabyte file on ext3 HELP!

Looking for ext2 & ext3 expert. This problem is on a ext3 partition.

I have a small file (1395 bytes) that appears HUGE when runing ls -l (70368744179059 bytes). This causes a problem because tar wants to back up all those extra bytes.
[root secure parse]# ls -l HTMLFrameSet.class
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root devel 70368744179059 Mar 20 09:05 HTMLFrameSet.class

[root secure parse]# wc HTMLFrameSet.class
    15      58    1395 HTMLFrameSet.class

We have back ups of the file else where, but I'm afraid to delete it. When I remove it what is going to happen to the file system? Kernal version is 2.4.18 on i686 Is it safe to delete and recreate the file. Do I need to unmount the FS and run fsck?

FYI error message from tar:
tar: HTMLFrameSet.class: File shrank by 70368744169331 bytes; padding with zeros

No wonder my backups didn't finish :-) !!!!

Thanks for any insight.

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