NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A man cursed at reporters Wednesday morning as he went to court to face charges in connection with a crash that caused a Long Island home to explode.
Anthony Capuano, 35, was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and reckless endangerment charges, police said.
Capuano pleaded not guilty and was bail set at $20,000 cash or $100,000 bond. His bext court date will be March 20.
Around 7 p.m. Tuesday night, police said Capuano lost control and slammed his red pickup truck into a house in Selden, hitting a natural gas line.
“It was a huge sound, everybody thought we were having an earthquake,” said witness Elysia Gonzalez. “It shook the floor.”
That’s when both the truck and the house burst into flames, police said.
Witnesses said the driver couldn’t even stand up.
“He was stumbling. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test,” said witness William Gonzalez. “Police physically cuffed him and took him to the Sixth Precinct.”
Among those tackling the blaze was the homeowner, who is also a volunteer firefighter. Lt. Michael Cosgrove was on duty when the call came in, initially, for the wrong address.
“Coming down the street with the fire truck I realized that was my house,” Cosgrove told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “As soon as the truck came to a stop I was off like a shot, putting my stuff on to go in and find my own family.”
His wife Diane Cosgrove was home with their two children, ages 9 and 7, at the time of the crash.
“We heard a crash and then shortly after an explosion that just shook the whole house,” she said, adding that she quickly grabbed her son and daughter and got them to safety.
Cosgrove said when he jumped off the truck, all he could think about was his family.
“You go from being a firefighter to a dad,” he said. “Luckily, the chief was at the front door to grab me and said, ‘They’re across the street, your wife got them out.’”
The day was already an agonizing one for Lt. Cosgrove, CBS 2′s Weijia Jiang reported.
Exactly two years ago, he lost his best friend, Nassau County Police Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf who was accidentally killed by an MTA officer.
“Kind of a date that next year I wish wouldn’t come,” Cosgrove said.
Last year, Cosgrove won a gold medal and was named Suffolk County firefighter of the year.