A toddler child was killed and 14 other people were injured when a home exploded late this morning in Brentwood, Long Island.
The home, located at 12 Prospect Drive, exploded in a blast at 11:55 a.m. today, Suffolk County police told Metro. The blast, the cause of which is still unknown, was so powerful that it was felt throughout the whole neighborhood, and badly damaged several other homes on the block.
"I never heard such a horrific boom, I thought a bomb exploded," said Ida Gibaldi, who lives on Eastern Avenue, less than 300 yards from 12 Prospect Drive. "I thought my house was coming off the foundation. I called 911 and told them, 'I think a bomb exploded.'"
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Gibaldi, 79, said her 55-year-old son immediately rushed outside and ran down the block to help.
"He came across the house blown to bits, the house was just in splinters," she said. "That’s when he saw a man covered in blood, his clothes were ripped and burned. You never saw such a deadpan expression."
"And a woman, I think it was the child’s mother, ran out of the house, carrying the baby. She was screaming, ‘My baby! My baby!’ He saw them carrying the baby into a police car.”
“She was screaming for her baby’s life,” said Gibaldi. “It’s so sad.”
The 18-month-old boy lived in the home. He was rushed to the hospital, but later died.
Rescue workers pulled six other injured adults from the rubble, police said, and rushed them to local hospitals. Three of them were injured seriously. Four of the adults and the toddler lived in the home. The other two adults, one of whom may have been a plumber, were working on the home at the time.
Five police officers were treated for inhalation and two firefighters were also injured in responding. One additional person, a neighbor, also suffered minor injuries.
According to Newsday, a spokeswoman for National Grid said the home was not supplied with natural gas. However, there were two 200-pound propane tanks outside the house at the time of the explosion.
The home was completely leveled in the explosion, and investigators have not yet determined what caused the blast. Fire officials are investigating whether the explosion was gas related, according to Newsday.
Neighbors who rushed in said they could smell the strong odor of gas.