STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities are investigating what caused a huge explosion Tuesday that leveled a six bedroom house in Stamford, scattering debris for hundreds of feet and setting three other homes on fire.
The homeowner was outside near a pool house when the explosion happened just before 2 p.m.
Mayor Michael Pavia said the blast demolished the 6,000-square-foot home “in a million pieces.”
PHOTOS: Stamford House Explosion
“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,” he said.
Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau called it “a very big explosion.”
“It was a scene out of hell, it really was,” Fontneau said. “There was debris in the trees, glass shards, front door, back door thrown many feet away.”
The investigation is expected to take some time, police said.
“It’s a vast area with a lot of debris everywhere and it’s like putting together a puzzle. I’m not very good at jigsaw puzzles but they’ve got to put a jigsaw puzzle together without having the cover on the box,” Fontneau told WCBS 880′s Sean Adams. “There’s no parts recognizable at all and there’s big sheets of hardwood floor that are strewn about. There’s furniture, televisions in the pool area. There’s a window frame up on top of a pine tree that was sheared off.”
Next door neighbors said they heard the blast from up to two miles away.
“I thought it was an earthquake,” neighbor Paxi Parmesuter said.
“I thought a plane hit my house,” neighbor Charlene Heffernan told The Stamford Advocate. “I have never heard anything so loud. My house shook from the top down.”
It took dozens of emergency crews nearly 12 hours to put out the flames. Three other homes in the neighborhood also caught fire.
The homeowner was taken to Stamford Hospital for examination. One firefighter also sustained minor injuries.
Officials suspect gas from an underground 500-gallon propane gas tank somehow built up inside the home before the explosion. Arson has reportedly been ruled out, but investigators are still trying to find out what exactly ignited the blast.
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