Two Injured as Release of Propane Causes a Blast at a House in Queens

NY Times - October 27, 2009


Two people were injured on Monday night when propane released from a cylinder caused an explosion at a house in Queens, the authorities said.

The victims, whose names and ages were not released but who were described as husband and wife, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, the authorities said.

About 7:40 p.m., firefighters answered a call about an explosion at 32-25 Leavitt Street in Flushing, said Edward Kilduff, an assistant chief with the Fire Department.

They found a woman covered with debris on the first floor of the two-story brick house, near 33rd Avenue. She was sent in stable condition to New York Hospital in Queens, Mr. Kilduff said.

The man was in serious condition at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital in Manhattan with burns to his face and arms, Mr. Kilduff said.

Marbelys Cardy, 32, of Woodside said she heard the blast and at first thought it had come from her car. But when she stopped, she said that she heard someone screaming and that the air smelled of gas.

"I tried to run into the house to save people, but I was scared," said Ms. Cardy, who said she called 911. "A man came out of the house with blood on his legs and on his arms."

Mr. Kilduff said an initial investigation determined that the man had released propane from a 20-pound cylinder in the back of the house on the first floor, where he was found. The gas collected and combusted, Mr. Kilduff said. Investigators were trying to determine what set off the explosion.

Rebecca Callahan, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said that the adjacent houses were affected and that a family of eight living in the house to the right of the site of the explosion would be sent to a shelter.

Angela Macropoulos contributed reporting.