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“Like an earthquake”: A gas explosion explodes at the Bronx house




Ten people were injured, none of them seriously, when a gas explosion rocked a three-story home in the Bronx on Thursday, officials said.

The force of the explosion detonated one of the doors of the house from its hinges and across the street, as it was hanging from telephone wires in the cold air as night fell, and the investigators searched the building and the surrounding area.

A buildings department spokesman said inspectors were checking the home’s gas pipeline system as a potential source of explosion. Officials said firefighters are also investigating, as are Kun Edison employees.

A spokesman for Con Edison said the facility was not operating at the home at the time of the explosion and that the gas service had been shut down after the accident.

Officials initially said that two of the wounded, including a child, were hospitalized in critical condition. But a hospital spokesperson later said that none of the nine patients who were treated by traumatologists had sustained serious injuries.

Hours after the explosion, residents, still stunned, ripped out clothes and blankets from their homes in the dark. A black cat who appears to have been burned in the snow slid near the remnants of the windows that had fallen off their frames.

Genesis Garcia, 18, said she was cleaning her room in her family’s home on the first floor when she heard a loud boom and felt the building shake.

She said, “It felt like an earthquake.”

Mrs. Garcia, like her neighbors, spent hours in the cold helping her family snatch items from their home. She was grateful that her two dogs and five rodents, gathered in a blanket, were safe.

Fire officials said the explosion, which occurred on Bowling Street in the Westchester Square neighborhood, occurred just before 3:30 pm and was brought under control within about an hour. Fire officials said 10 people were injured, including a firefighter who sustained minor injuries, most of them transferred to Jacobi Medical Center.

By 7 p.m., Jacoby spokesman John C. Doyle said that one person had been released, while the rest were being treated at the hospital’s trauma center for non-life-threatening injuries.

A spokesperson for the agency said that inspectors and engineers from the Buildings Department had determined that the house and two others, respectively, of four affected, were structurally stable. The department’s records showed that the property had no pending violations.

Row houses are owned by Trackside Homes LLC in the Bronx, according to city real estate records. The property owner cannot be reached immediately.

As of 10 pm, the American Red Cross said it had provided financial assistance and temporary housing for two families totaling nine.

Alberto Martinez, 50, was among residents assessing the damage Thursday evening.

Martinez told reporters he rushed home from his job in a Manhattan law firm after hearing about the explosion. He said that his wife, Norma Jalarza, was in the house when the explosion happened and got out. Mr. Martinez said she saw her neighbor who often looked after her two children, asking for help.

He said, “The father was outside the window asking for help because she did not know what to do at this point.” “So my wife just asked her to throw the baby away.”

He said Mrs. Jalarza grabbed the baby, and the neighbor and the second child, a toddler, eventually got out of the building safely. Mr. Martinez said he was proud of his wife’s bravery.

He said, “I wouldn’t expect anything less than her.”

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