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House Explodes In Hempstead; Neighbors Recount Hearing Loud 'Boom'

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A house explosion rocked a neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon.

It happened at Perry and Cedar streets. Authorities believe the structure was a vacant house in foreclosure.

The house is now a pile of rubble.

No one was inside. Fire officials said it's amazing no one was seriously hurt.

"It was a vacant house, but had someone been in there, it could have been fatal," Hempstead Fire Chief Scot Clarke told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff.

The only injury was suffered by a woman in a home next door. She was rushed to the hospital with shortness of breath. The woman's home also suffered some minor damage to the siding and windows.

House Explodes In Hempstead; Neighbors Recount Hearing Loud 'Boom'

"All I heard was 'boom' and the house ... I actually felt the house shake," one neighbor said.

"I was cleaning my room and all of sudden I heard a 'boom'... and the whole house shook," another neighbor said.

"I don't know what an earthquake feels like, but it was scary," neighbor Marie Zamor told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

Zamor said she did not see any fire, only smoke following the explosion.

Neighbors told 1010 WINS they had smelled gas in recent days. Reporter Carol D'Auria said the homes on both sides of the structure are still standing and that one of them has some siding and window damage.

House Explodes In Hempstead; Neighbors Recount Hearing Loud 'Boom'

The Long Island Power Authority and a Hazmat unit were called to the scene.

As of Wednesday evening, the cause was still under investigation, fire officials said.

National Grid said they found no traces of a gas leak near the home and the surrounding homes. Crews also tested the gas line that runs from the street to the house and found it to be sound.

Gas to the entire block was shut off after the explosion.

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