The fiery house explosion that rocked a Long Island neighborhood Tuesday night, injuring five firefighters and damaging nearby homes, was likely intentional, fire officials say. A person's body was found in the charred wreckage after firefighters doused the flames.
Police responded to the Prospect Avenue home in Port Washington around 8:30 p.m. after a woman called to report she smelled gas when she and her 2-year-old child got home.
Officers also got a whiff of the odor when they arrived and were in the process of getting the woman off the property when there was an explosion in the house.
The home ignited, and fire crews were called to the scene. More than 150 firefighters from 20 jurisdictions spent two hours battling the blaze, which damaged several adjacent buildings.
Once the flames were extinguished, firefighters found the body. Police said it would take several days to identify the victim.
Port Washington fire officials say they believe flammable liquids were used to intentionally set the fire. They said the rapid growth of the fire indicates arson.
Port Washington residents were shaken up by the blast and blaze, which was visible from blocks away.
Mary Kate Liebman says she was outside her mother's home across an inlet from the fire site and saw a fireball shoot into the air.
"Everything shook and you could feel the heat,” she said.
The firefighters had minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
-- Brynn Gingras contributed to this report