1 Found Dead After Long Island House Explosion, Fire

One person was found dead after an explosion inside a house sparked a large fire in a Long Island neighborhood Tuesday night, injuring five firefighters and damaging several nearby homes, authorities say.

Police responded to the scene around 8:30 p.m. after a woman called to report she smelled gas when she and her 2-year-old child returned to their Prospect Avenue home in Port Washington. Officers 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 blast ignited the home, 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 a body inside the home. Police said it would take several days to identify the victim. 

The injuries to the five firefighters were considered minor.

Port Washington residents were shaken up by the blast and ensuing 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.

Adam Gould was putting his children to bed when the explosion shook his nearby South Washington Street home.

"We looked out our window and all we see is a huge, huge stack of fire, smoke," he said. "Our house is on top of the hill looking straight down, and there was an enormous explosion -- fire everywhere."

Fire marshals, homicide detectives and arson investigators are all looking into the explosion, officials say.

-- Brynn Gingras contributed to this report

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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