NY, NY – WABC TV – Investigators revealed on Wednesday morning that natural gas is what caused a massive explosion leveling the Habberstad Nissan Dealership on the Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.
However, despite occurring during business hours on Tuesday afternoon and just before rush-hour, no one was killed in the blast. But this new finding has actually led to another mystery.
There are two questions now. How and why did the gas leak in the first place? We know where it came from which is a crack in a 4-inch underground gas main outside the car dealership. Because gas is lighter than air, it tries to find a way up and out of the ground. But somehow it seeped into the car dealership and ignited.
The explosion came from deep within the building and leveled it within seconds. It was a two-story car dealership one minute and then a mountain of glass and concrete the next. Fifteen people were inside Haberstad Nissan at the time of the explosion. Everyone made it out alive and no one was seriously hurt.
Susan Haberstad, Witness: “A giant fireball blew open the side door. There were people running everywhere.”
The blast had all of the obvious indicators of a natural gas explosion.
But after examining the wreckage and interviewing the witnesses, investigators have now been able to zero in on a possible cause.
Det. Lt. Kevin Brennan, Suffolk County Arson Squad: “The pipe underground allowed the gas to travel laterally until it could find its way up and when it got to the wall of the building. It may have seeped into the water pipe entrance and may have got into the basement that way and all it takes is a spark to set off.”
To be clear, the car dealership itself does not have natural gas service. Investigators believe it may have been an oil leak in the basement that actually set off the natural gas fumes. Keyspan, the local power company on Long Island, insisted that none of their workers had been working in the area and the investigation continues today into who may have ruptured that gas line.