2 firefighters seriously hurt in NY gas blast

Firefighters were standing at front door of home when it exploded, blasting 1 about 30 feet backward into street

By Erin Calabrese
The New York Post

WEST HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. — A massive explosion obliterated a Rockland County townhouse and seriously injured two firefighters yesterday after Verizon workers hit a gas main with a drill, authorities said.

The two firefighters were standing at the front door of the West Haverstraw home when it exploded at around 12:30 p.m., blasting one of the firemen about 30 feet back into the street, officials said.

The homeowners, identified in property records and by neighbors as Keith and Nicole Hall, were not in the house at the time.

The firefighters had been evacuating the neighborhood after receiving a call about a natural-gas leak, Fire Chief Jorge Zayas said.

"We got here. We located a contractor who had dug up and ruptured a gas main," he said. "During evacuation, the corner unit exploded and leveled the house."

The badly injured firefighters were in intensive care in area hospitals late yesterday. Two other firefughters and two utility workers also were treated for injuries.

"My back windows were blown out and my cat is missing," said a neighbor, Teresa Wargo.

Power and gas were shut off to thousands of homes in the area as a precaution.

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