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Apparent Propane Gas Explosion Levels House, Injures 14

August 19, 1992

NEW CASSEL, N.Y. (AP) _ An explosion apparently caused by a propane gas leak leveled a house early Wednesday, injuring 14 people, one critically.

Gabriel Jeudi, 45, was shaving on the second floor at around 5:30 a.m.

″I was putting the cream on when I heard the boom,″ he said.

The house collapsed and he was bounced, naked, into the backyard. He landed without a scratch.

The 14 other occupants, ranging in age from 2 to 60, were rocked from their sleep and found lying, injured, in the yard or under debris.

Guy Lazard, 30, was in critical condition with third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body, said Janet Sarsfield, Nassau County Medical Center spokeswoman. The other occupants were treated at four hospitals, mostly for cuts, scrapes, broken bones and minor burns.

Westbury Assistant Fire Chief Larry Tamney said the blue-tipped flames indicated gas caused the explosion. There were four 100-gallon propane tanks in the backyard, used for cooking.

Gas could have leaked from a tank or from a line leading to a stove. It could have been sparked when someone turned on the hot water or the stove, said Gregory Caronia of the county fire marshal’s office.

Two years ago, the house was cited for being used illegally as a multi- family dwelling, with three apartments, said Barry Diaferia, head of building codes for North Hempstead Town. The extra kitchens were dismantled under a court order, he said.

Jeudi said the current residents, most of them related, came to this Long Island community from Haiti to find work.

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