The explosion, captured on camera, collapsed the first floor of a home on Vermont Street in Cypress Hills into the cellar just after midnight.
Six residents were treated for minor injuries. Two people were taken to Brookdale University Hospital, while the other four were treated at the scene.
Felicia Ramos lived on the property and to her surprise her neighbors weren’t killed.
“Boom, I heard an explosion and I walked out and it was a scary thing,” she said. “The whole house shook, I ran outside and I heard people screaming. And it was like ‘Get out, get out, get out, get out of here.'”
However, about 54 residents of adjacent buildings lost their homes.
“It’s extended to the 2nd and 4th sections of the adjoining buildings, and it’s wrapping around as well,” FDNY Deputy Director Patrick Sherian said. “We had a building on Jamaica Avenue. It was running up the back of that building, so we had to search, evacuate.”
Witness News caught some residents trying to stay warm on an MTA bus, and Edwin Rodriguez said he smelled gasoline on Tuesday.
“I complained about a gas leak in the early afternoon,” he said. “They ignored it, and here’s the result. It was a gas leak. I smelled it when I got home from work. I reported it. They ignored it, and here’s the result. Here’s what.” we get it.”
The spectacular explosion, captured on video, will prove crucial to the investigation. The front door of the building was blown off across the street.
Mychelle Grullon resident said: ‘People keep saying they smell gas. “They smelled gas, but nobody figured it out, like ‘Where did it come from? Why did it happen? How to stop it.’ And now this happens, and now a lot of us have nowhere to sleep.”
Firefighters searched for debris using drones and thermal imaging cameras, ensuring all occupants in the building were identified.
The Department of Construction will assess the structural integrity of attached dwellings.
Meanwhile, the Christmas tree in Rodriguez’s apartment was still lit, but the window in front of it was shattered.
He described how he grabbed his 3-year-old daughter and ran out of the building.
“I took everyone out,” he said. “My daughters don’t wear socks, don’t wear sneakers, nothing. I just take her, and we run out.”
He and his family were not allowed to return and were taken to a hotel.
Investigators say a faulty boiler connected to the gas line appears to have caused the explosion, but the investigation continues.
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