WEST HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One Rockland County firefighter is back home after suffering first- and second-degree burns to his face in a devastating townhouse explosion in West Haverstraw.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane At The Scene Of The Blast

Volunteer firefighter Jerry Knapp was going door to door on Zarriello Lane, evacuating residents before a gas leak caused an explosion, leveling a townhouse around 1 p.m.

“It felt like somebody was giving me a big hug, I looked up, I saw the top of the house. I felt myself lift up. I remember leaving the ground,” he told CBS2’s Pablo Guzman.

When Knapp returned to the fire training center in Pomona he was greeted warmly by friends and family members who didn’t think that they would ever see him or Patterson alive ever again.

The family of four who lived in the destroyed townhouse were evacuated safely prior to the explosion.

Meanwhile, Knapp’s fellow firefighter, Ken Patterson, remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit with non-life threatening injuries at Westchester Medical Center.

The explosion also injured two Orange and Rockland Utilities employees.

Neighbors were kept out of their homes for nearly eight hours before being allowed to return.