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Tractor-Trailer Crashes Into 3 Houses On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A tractor-trailer hauling steed rods struck three homes on Staten Island Monday morning, but incredibly only the driver was injured.

The crash happened shortly before 6 a.m. at 223, 227 and 229 South Ave., in the Mariners Harbor neighborhood.

It's not clear how the driver lost control. The size of the load and the angle in which the tractor-trailer ended up in the embankment were made it more difficult for workers to clean up the scene. Residents were literally stunned that no one was seriously hurt.

"I come outside and I see the tractor-trailer and I'm like, this is unbelievable," Erick Stavrou told CBS2's Janelle Burrell.

It was a sight neighbors couldn't believe-- a busted cab, the loaded trailer and the path of damage and debris it left behind.

"I can't even describe it beside a big 'boom,'" Patricia Willis said.

Willis said she was sleeping when the driver somehow lost control at around 5:45 a.m. and went down an embankment, swiping two homes and parked cars on South Avenue before crashing into her house.

"I looked out the window and I saw something orange move and that was the guy in the truck. His shirt, an orange shirt on and I realized the truck is sitting in the house," Willis said.

She said the driver was asking for help finding his cellphone. Firefighters responding to the scene said he was the only person hurt, but his injuries weren't considered serious.

Because of the large size of the vehicle and its load of metal construction material, firefighters were careful while getting residents out.

"Four buildings had to be evacuated. One building had to be shored up for safety. We had to offload about 280 gallons of diesel fuel from the tractor-trailer," FDNY Deputy Chief Phil Saolimeo said.

As crews worked to figure out how to remove the trailer, some residents told CBS2's Burrell it's common for "big rig" drivers to speed over this stretch.

"They come over fast. You can hear their loads shift," Willis said. "A lot of times you hear them and you're waiting for the crash to happen."

And while the residents said they didn't know when they would be allowed back inside, they were all relieved the damage and injuries weren't worse.

"Thank God nobody really got hurt," Stavrou said.

The chief predicted it would be hours before the trailer would be removed. The Department of Buildings was also on scene to determine whether the residents would be allowed to return to their homes Monday.

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