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The explosion occurred in the basement of a two-story, two-family home at 819 Friel Place in the Prospect Park South neighborhood at about 1:20 p.m. Monday. The explosion caused the building, whose owners were hit with a Department of Buildings violation last year for creating an illegal driveway, to partially collapse.
According to Firehouse.com, about 75 firefighters battled the blaze, and got it under control by 4 p.m.
Two victims suffered minor injuries, and one was seriously injured, although it was not considered a life-threatening injury, the FDNY said. Some news sites, including Firehouse.com, reported that four people were injured.
The injured were taken to a nearby hospital.
‘Very loud noise’
Sumaiya Sumi, 18, was in her home next door when the explosion occurred.
“I was so scared. I heard a very loud noise,” she told the New York Post.
Sumi said that when she heard the blast, she ran out of her home barefoot with her two siblings and parents. “I got my mom and dad and I just ran out,” Sumi said. “I smelled gas and saw the smoke outside.”
‘People were screaming’
Juana Salmoran, who also lives nearby, said she felt her house “shake” after the explosion.
“(I) thought a car had crashed into the house,” said Salmoran, 41. “I grabbed my daughter and we ran out. There was a lot of smoke.”
Maisha Hanif, who lives next door, said she heard the explosion and “people were screaming.”
“It was very chaotic and very disorganized,” she said. “We know (the homeowners) were renovating the home, but we don’t know what happened.”
Hanif’s father, Mohammed Hanif, 63, said that the landlord of a next-door building was among those who were injured.
“He was sitting outside in the back yard and smoking a cigarette and the whole wall came on him,” Mohammed said. “He was able to talk but he had a big bruise on his head.”
Major structural damage
The explosion caused heavy structural damage to the home between Coney Island Avenue and East 8th Street and sent plumes of smoke billowing from the building as firefighters worked to put out the fire.
Department of Buildings inspectors determined that the family home was no longer structurally stable and ordered it demolished, a department spokesperson said.
The cause of the blast was not immediately known.