NEW YORK - A vacant building in Gravesend, Brooklyn exploded Friday due to an apparent natural gas leak destroying two neighboring houses, according to city officials. Residents of the houses were able to evacuate.
Firefighters received a call at about a fire at 67 and 69 Bay 35th Street at about 7:12 a.m. Video from the scene showed a large fire and plumes of smoke pouring from the site. Debris could be seen on the ground scattered throughout the residential neighborhood as firefighters doused the area with water.
The explosion flattened a car parked in the driveway of one of the damaged houses.
"The preliminary investigation reveals that we do not appear to have anyone inside the building that was totally destroyed," said Mayor Eric Adams during a briefing at the scene.
A resident told FOX 5 News she had smelled gas throughout the night and that neighbors called the gas company repeatedly. Another resident said he heard what sounded like a "car explosion."
The Red Cross was assisting six people with temporary housing. Two suffered minor injuries.
Utility officials said gas and electricity were turned off throughout the impacted block so excavation work could be completed.
Department of Building inspectors said they were conducting structural stability inspections of surrounding buildings. The vacant building and the destroyed homes would be demolished, said fire officials.
At least two houses have been destroyed in a fire and possible explosion in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
The cause of the leak and whether the utility company received calls about a gas leak as reported by residents was under investigation, said Adams.
"We have no recorded report of gas prior to this incident," said a fire official at the scene. "We have no record of them calling National Grid. If you smell natural gas, you should call 911."