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6 Hurt as Midnight Explosion Rocks Brooklyn Block

A large explosion erupted outside a multifamily home in Brooklyn early Wednesday morning, leaving six people injured and dozens more displaced as flames spread to neighboring houses.

The explosion, the cause of which is still under investigation, occurred just after midnight on Vermont Street in the Cypress Hills neighborhood, fire officials said. The resulting fire collapsed the first floor of the three-story home into the basement, leaving firefighters unable to search that area.

The blast, caught on camera, shook neighbors awake as houses were rocked with the force of the explosion.

Firefighters responded to the scene while heavy flames spread to other buildings.

“We had to do searches, evacuate those buildings and extinguish the heavy volume of fire,” Patrick Sheridan, deputy chief of the New York Fire Department, said in a statement.

Mr. Sheridan said there were no life-threatening injuries. Two of the six injured people were sent to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, he said, and the others refused medical attention at the scene.

Yuzef Muladzhanov, one of the owners of the building that exploded, said in an interview that he had no idea what might have caused the fire and that he was not aware of any reports of gas odors from residents.

But Edwin Rodriguez, 41, who has lived in a neighboring apartment building for 10 years, said he told his superintendent and his landlord on Tuesday that he smelled gas.

Neither responded for several hours, he said, until he told them he would call the police, wanting to resolve the issue before his children returned home from school.

The superintendent, he said, then told him around 3 p.m. that the problem had been fixed.

Mr. Rodriguez said he was awakened shortly after midnight by the sound of his three children screaming. When he ran to his balcony and saw flames erupting from a neighboring apartment, he grabbed his family and fled.

He and his family were placed in a hotel by the American Red Cross, and he said he would be returning to his apartment Wednesday afternoon to assess the extent of the damage.

The cause of the explosion is still being investigated, but one neighbor said he reported an odor of gas the day before.Credit…Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

Julia Salazar, the state senator who represents the area and lives on the street, said it was “pretty concerning” that neighbors reported smelling gas before the explosion occurred.

She said that the fire seemed to spread to other houses rather quickly and that it was shocking no one was more seriously injured.

“All of our houses shook, and we ran out into the street to see what was happening, and there was an enormous fire,” Ms. Salazar said. “It’s really a miracle that nobody was killed.”

Ms. Salazar said about 54 people were displaced from their homes and relocated with help from the Red Cross.

“We immediately want to make sure that they have safe places to stay and that they have housing for as long as they need,” she said. “Our intention is to raise financial support for them, especially given that this is so close to the holidays.”

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