SYOSSET, NY (CBSNewYork) –A Nassau County man is lucky to be alive after his home blew up, with the force of the explosion literally rocking the neighborhood.

The 48-year-old homeowner, husband and father of three barely escaped death when his ranch house on Alexander Drive in Syosset suddenly exploded while he was doing spring cleaning in the basement, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall: People Went Running

The siding, the roof and the windows were torn off of the house in Syosset when the home exploded around noon.

“It was a huge boom, like you could feel it in your chest. It was an explosion,” said another neighbor. “I almost thought it was in my house. That’s how loud it was.”

People are seen hugging after a house explosion at 6 Alexander Drive - Syosset, NY - May 5, 2011 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

People are seen hugging after a house explosion at 6 Alexander Drive - Syosset, NY - May 5, 2011 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

The homeowner, 51-year-old Brian Welsh, was reportedly in the basement fixing his washing machine and dryer when it happened.

Brian Welsh’s kids were at school and his wife, Helena, had been at work. She was frantically summoned to the scene, hugging friends with tears in her eyes, unable to believe what had happened.

“My brother-in-law was helivaced to the hospital with bad burns, but everyone else is okay,” Despina Tenedorio, Welsh’s sister-in-law, told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.

“We don’t know how he arrived onto the front lawn, but he was sitting on the front lawn when we got here,” Syosset Fire Chief Robert Kaplan said. “He was immediately transported via helicopter to the medical center.”

A neighbor told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera that he talked with Welsh before he was rushed to the burn unit at Nassau County Medical Center.

“He said that he would have been working in the basement around his dryer and his washing machine,” he said.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera Speaks To The Victim’s Sister-In-Law

Other neighbors began running out of their homes when the explosion happened.

“My whole house shook. I’m around the corner and the entire house shook. I ran to the windows, ran to the back,” said one neighbor. “[I] thought maybe a tree fell on the house.”

“There was a big explosion, I heard him screaming for help,” neighbor Jennifer Rubin said. “’Help me, somebody please help me.’ I called 911 right away.”

As Keyspan immediately shut off the gas and electricity was cut from the block, crews with remote search cameras pored over the desperate situation.

“I just wanted to make sure my family was alright,” Tenedorio said. “I don’t know, I just got so scared. Thank God everyone’s okay.”

Tenedorio said she managed to save the family birds, a parakeet and an African gray, along with photos and some personal mementos. Everything else, though, was rubble.

Bricks and wood blew through concrete, tossing the refrigerator through the front door. The attic pancaked into the basement.

Neighbors said they were counting their blessings that no one else was hurt.

Investigators already started razing the house, as the search for the exact cause of the explosion continued into the night.

About 15 years ago, another house exploded about one block away. A neighbor said that house was leveled.