Amityville, NY – An apparent gas explosion leveled a house in Amityville early Sunday evening but the family inside smelled gas and got out safely before the blast, fire officials and neighbors said.
The explosion at 34 Meadow Ln., off South Bayview Avenue, blew the first floor of the house to bits, showering the street and nearby houses with glass, wood and metal shards, neighbors said. The second floor then collapsed onto the foundation, neighbors said.
The people who lived in the house, a couple and two children, smelled gas and called 911, then got out before the blast, the neighbors said.
A close relative of the Meadow Lane family, who asked that her name not be used, said they were too shaken to talk about the explosion Sunday night. The couple and the two children, 10-year-old twins, “were in the house and smelled gas,” said the family member.
The man went down into the crawlspace, “smelled strong fumes and then grabbed the children and they all got outside just before the house blew up,” she said.
Wendy Ladd, a National Grid spokeswoman, said officials were trying to determine the cause late Sunday night. “We were notified at 5:55 p.m. of a gas incident. No cause has been determined yet,” she said. “It’s still under investigation. We’re looking at whether we did any work in the area.”
For blocks around the home, the explosion was an unsettling shock, said a brother and sister, Casey and Hudson Woelk, who live a block away on New Point Place.
“We were in our rooms and we heard a boom. The whole house shook,” said Casey Woelk, 13.
“My dad thought the roof collapsed. My younger brother thought a meteor hit,” she said.
One Meadow Lane resident saw the explosion through his front window, said Peter Tzimas, a friend of the resident who had been visiting last night. “He was sitting in the living room and he could see the house. He saw the family come out of the house, then there was a fireball and a big explosion,” Tzimas said. “The house was leveled. There was a lot of debris and glass in the street.”
The windows on houses on each side of 34 Meadow Lane were shattered, he said.
The home is south of Montauk Highway, near the mouth of Ketcham Creek on the Great South Bay.
Amityville police officers and firefighters blocked traffic for hours afterward, as they waited for National Grid utility workers to make repairs.