LONGWOOD, the Bronx — When 869 Fox Street in exploded Tuesday morning, it not only took a life, but it also rocked a close-knit community.

Lydia Velez, 86, watched Wednesday afternoon as her daughter and the NYPD went into her home at the corner of Fox Street and Intervale Avenue to retrieve important papers and mementos. Velez lived on Fox Street for decades.

“I always worked, since I was 13-years-old, to buy a house,” she said.

Just a few hours later, her home was torn down — it’s one of four attached homes that were either gone or not structurally sound and had to be demolished.

Velez lived just two doors down from the home that exploded. The blast killed 77-year-old Martha Dagbasta and injured her sister. One other woman was also injured.

“I spoke to Martha’s son. He is doing ok. He is hanging in there,” Jose Rojas said. 

Rojas grew up next door Dagbasta’s family. His mother survived the blast, and is resting nearby at his house.

“She still don’t believe me. She thinks she can still go in the house.,” Rojas said. “I said, ‘Ma, you can’t get in the house.'”

Rojas said this block of Fox Street, with its attached homes built in the 1980s, is more like family; one that was born out of tragedy.

Father Louis Gigante, whose statue stands feet from the destruction, built homes here, where buildings had previously burned down. 

“And they built home ownership, provided home ownership, for low-income families so they could maintain and remain here in their neighborhoods,” Councilman Rafael Salamanca said.

Officials said they believe a gas leak caused the explosion. Someone had called 9-1-1 for a gas smell right before the explosion.

Councilman Salamanca said foul play has been ruled out.