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Explosion Reduces Stamford, Conn. Home To Rubble

Police Chief: 'It Was A Scene Out Of Hell, It Really Was; The House Was Leveled'

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STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – A million-dollar home in Stamford, Conn. was leveled to the ground Tuesday, when it erupted in a massive explosion.

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, not much was left of the house besides a pile of smoldering rubble after the explosion at 305 Webbs Hill Rd. The blast shook the quiet suburban neighborhood full of multi-million dollar homes.

Alongside a backyard pool, debris was strewn on the lawn of a neighboring house. Through the trees, the orange glow of flames remained visible as what was left of the house continued to burn.

The explosion erupted just before 2 p.m. One next-door neighbor thought it was a natural disaster.

“I thought it was an earthquake! And then when I looked down I saw a little bit of fire and that’s when I was worried about my neighbor Joe. But he’s OK is what they tell me,” neighbor Paxi Parmesuter told CBS 2′s Young.

Nearby residents told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell the blast was felt more than a mile away.

Stamford fire truck responds to the scene of a home explosion, Sept. 17, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Stamford fire truck responds to the scene of a home explosion, Sept. 17, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

“The report that I got was that a house was vaporized and that’s a description that’s hard to imagine until you see it,” Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia told WCBS 880. “The house was actually demolished in a million pieces. I’ve never quite seen the kind of damage to a building before and the debris was spread out probably 400-500 feet around where the house once stood.”

While the house was blown clear out of existence, the homeowner survived. Police said he was on the property, but not inside the structure when it blew.

When emergency crews arrived, it was a scene of smoke, flames and confusion.

One piece of video taken by Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau showed the home’s door hundreds of yards from where the house stood.

“It was a scene out of hell, it really was. The house was leveled, smoke. There was debris in the trees, glass shards, front door, back door thrown many feet away. There was actually a window frame up in a pine tree. Pine trees were snapped. So it was a very big explosion,” Fontneau said.

Click here to see photos of the blast scene.

The large plume of smoke could be seen from 30 to 40 miles away, CBS 2’s Joe Biermann reported from Chopper 2 HD.

It appeared that gas somehow built up in the home before the explosion. A large underground propane tank continued to feed the flames, but there were no serious injuries.

The debris following a house explosion in Stamford, Conn. on Sept. 17, 2013. (Credit: Stamford Public Safety Director Thaddeus K. Jankowski)

The debris following a house explosion in Stamford, Conn. on Sept. 17, 2013. (Credit: Stamford Public Safety Director Thaddeus K. Jankowski)

There may have been a leak in the tank that caused the explosion, officials said. They spoke with the homeowner at the hospital but say it may days before they’re completely certain of what happened.

“What we believe to be a 500-pound underground propane tank on fire,” Fontneau said.

But investigators said they were not completely sure of the cause.

The propane tank was filled two months ago, Haskell reported.

People in the area chalked that up to the time of day the blast occurred.

The owner was taken to Stamford Hospital for examination. One firefighter also sustained minor injuries, Haskell reported.

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