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Basement Explosion on Staten Island Hurts 3 and Forces Evacuations

By  Aidan Gardiner and Nicholas Rizzi | January 30, 2014 7:57am | Updated on January 30, 2014 1:53pm

 An explosion in the basement of a Staten Island home prompted neighborhood evacuations, the FDNY said.
Delaware Street Basement Explosion
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STATEN ISLAND — An explosion rocked a Dongan Hills home Wednesday evening, hurting three and forcing nearby homes to be evacuated, the FDNY said.

The blast in the basement of 101 Delaware St., near Dalemere Road, badly damaged the home and left two of its residents seriously hurt about 6:30 p.m., officials said.

"It was just a big boom," said resident Michelle Kelleher, 49, who was in her kitchen across the street at the time. "One loud boom."

It was caused by a gas leak, according to the Staten Island Advance. But an FDNY spokesman couldn't confirm the cause.

The injured residents were taken to Staten Island University Hospital, along with a firefighter who suffered minor injuries, an FDNY spokesman said.

About 100 firefighters extinguished the small fire left by the explosion and stayed on the scene as a precautionary measure, the FDNY spokesman said.

"It was like a scene out of a movie," Kelleher said.

Nearby homes were also evacuated because the blast elevated gas levels in the area, the spokesman said.

Kehlleher said residents were left outside in the cold until about midnight, when they were let back in their homes. She said some people stayed in their cars to keep warm, and eventually the MTA brought buses for residents to stay in while crews worked on the scene.

The Delaware Street home in which the explosion occurred suffered "extensive damage," according to the Department of Buildings' website.

Workers from National Grid were still on the block on Thursday morning taking gas level readings.

The National Grid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.