Wyandanach, NY – BY DENISE M. BONILLA, Newsday – A gas leak sent a Wyandanch home up in flames early yesterday, leaving a dozen or more people temporarily homeless, and caused the evacuation of nearby homes as workers searched for the source of the leak, police said.
The Wyandanch Fire Department was called to the home at 46 Long Island Ave. at 6 a.m., said Fire Chief Jack Miller. The house was already in flames after an explosion in a bedroom on the first floor of the two-story house, Miller said. “It was quite an explosion,” he said. “It blew the staircases apart.”
Miller said the house was divided into several apartments and there were about a dozen people inside sleeping at the time of the explosion. The Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross said 18 people had lived inside, and it was providing shelter and food vouchers for them and neighbors who were evacuated.
Miller said a 6-year-old boy suffered minor burns on his head, while the other residents escaped uninjured. A firefighter was also injured, tearing ligaments in his ankle. Both were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where they were treated and released, Miller said. However, the Red Cross said the boy was later taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow,and the hospital last night said he was in stable condition in its burn unit.
It took firefighters about 25 minutes to control the blaze, Miller said. He said the house was destroyed. No other houses were damaged. The cause of the explosion was a natural gas leak, Miller said. The house was heated by gas, but officials did not know if that was where the leak occurred.
KeySpan workers spent all day yesterday trying to determine the source of the leak. KeySpan spokeswoman Diana Parisi said the company turned off the gas and evacuated the two houses on either side of the home that had the explosion.
Workers were drilling holes in the ground around the houses, she said, and on Long Island Avenue to determine the cause. Police said traffic on Long Island Avenue would remain open last night, with KeySpan working in the middle of the roadway, and it was unclear whether the work would be continuing today.