Neighbor: 'I've Never Seen Anything Like That, And I Was In Vietnam'

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Propane tanks may be responsible for the house explosion that killed a toddler on Long Island.

Investigators continued probing the matchstick-like rubble that was a home, until it was blown to smithereens on Tuesday, killing a toddler and injuring six adults inside. Neighbor John Jordan, who thought it was a bomb, told CBS 2’s John Slattery on Wednesday that he rushed over to help free survivors.

“I was shocked. Everyone was shocked. I’ve never seen anything like that, and I was in Vietnam, but never saw nothing like that,” Jordan said.

WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports

Police said the blast was linked to propane, but they don’t know the source. Attention was focused on two 200-pound propane tanks. The home did not have natural gas, police said.

Killed in the explosion was 18-month-old Rah-quan Palmer. His father, Rashamel Palmer, was treated and released. The child’s mother, Christina Morgan, suffered a gash to the head.

The home was owned by Marcel Richard of Brooklyn, who was not at his home when CBS 2’s Slattery went looking for him on Wednesday. Town of Islip officials said he had been cited for illegal rentals and code violations.

The home, which had water in the basement, had a plumber and realtor in the house at the time of the blast because of an insurance claim. They were injured, as were two other adults.

Area resident Donna Ramirez brought flowers, a candle and a white teddy bear to the scene on Wednesday.

“These parents will never, ever get over this loss,” Ramirez said.

Among those who came to grieve for the parents was Elga Leon, who was in tears.

“It just tears me apart to see that they lose their baby,” Leon said.

The house looks like it was hit by a tornado. It shows the power of propane gas. Now, the search is on to find out what ignited it.

The two tanks were taken from the scene for examination, officials said.

Out of the six adults hurt, three were seriously injured.

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