LONGWOOD, the Bronx (PIX11) — A giant explosion and house fire that rocked a close-knit neighborhood in the Bronx on Tuesday left a number of families shaken up over what could have been.
Jose told PIX11 News he ran down the street to save his 86-year-old mother, who lived next door to the home that exploded.
“When I got here, the whole house was open flames … all the debris was on the street. I was trying to get to my mother [but] the fire department stopped me,” he said.
Jose alerted firefighters that his mother was trapped on the first floor, and New York’s Bravest went in to make the rescue.
“It was horrifying; she’s my mother,” he said, wiping away tears.
First responders were called to a home near the intersection of Fox Street and Intervale Avenue, in the Longwood section of the borough, just before 11 a.m. The explosion and subsequent fire engulfed the home, caused the building to collapse, and severely damaged neighboring residences, an FDNY official said.
A woman died and two additional civilians were injured, according to the FDNY. Five NYPD officers suffered smoke inhalation, police and fire officials said.
Marla told PIX11 News her grandmother escaped her home without any shoes on – just moments before the walls caved in. She credited her grandmother’s caretaker with getting her to safety.
“The moment the caretaker heard the explosion she practically dragged her out the house and took her to our house,” she said.
Marla said she ran into the house to grab whatever she could find: “Her boots, her cellphone, her medications. When we went inside the walls were shattered. When I went to my grandma’s room on the third floor the roof was collapsed and I was too scared to go further in.”
The community quickly rallied together to help dozens of families displaced by the tragic incident.
The nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen was already helping victims of a deadly high-rise fire just a couple of neighborhoods away when they heard about the blast.
“We’ve been providing three hot meals a day from local restaurants to support the need,” a representative from the organization told PIX11 News. “We are still in shock and trying to figure out where do we go from here.”
City Council Member Rafael Salamanca was also on the scene. His team worked with other local leaders to set up a resource center inside St. Athanasius Church on Tiffany Street for victims and families displaced by the explosion. He told PIX11 News his priority will be to make sure those who lost their homes have long-term housing options.
Even for those who were spared from the devastation, Con Edison shut down gas service in the area while officials investigated the cause of the explosion. Mayor Eric Adams vowed to expedite the investigation so that the gas could be safely turned back on in the neighborhood as quickly as possible amid frigid temperatures.