NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One home was leveled and two more were severely damaged in a fire after a gas explosion Sunday morning in Nassau County, fire officials said.

In all, three homes burned in Meadowmere Park. Three people were injured, including two firefighters, who were hurt when walls and a chimney collapsed, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.

First came a boom and then a gas-fueled fireball.

It was a windy morning and gusts spread flames from one home to a pair of others.

According to officials, the explosion happened at a one home, but the wind blew flames to neighboring homes. (credit: CBS2)

The situation presented challenge after challenge for firefighters, including one seen venting one of the roofs on West Avenue.

A loud blast jolted neighbors out of bed just before 6 a.m.

“I think it was a gas explosion because the house blew up. There’s nothing left to it,” resident Mary Domanick said.

A man in his 60s who was alone inside the house suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation and was hospitalized, officials said.

The two firefighters were seriously injured when struck by collapsing walls in the first home that burned. They are expected to recover, Carlin reported.

What happened to them prompted Meadowmere Park Fire Chief Kevin Carrero to change the plan of attack.

“We pulled everybody out and went exterior because I didn’t want anybody else to get hurt,” Carrero said.

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As fate would have it, the chief lives in a house across the street with his wife and five kids. He jumped into action.

“The explosion was big. Everyone felt it here,” Carrero said. “I looked out the front and didn’t see anything. Then I looked at the back and I saw the flames. It was a fireball. I got my kids out of the house.”

Neighbors credited firefighters for saving lives and protecting other West Avenue houses.

“We have a wonderful fire department. They are absolutely fantastic. They’re real heroes,” resident Irena Galati said.

“Right now, it doesn’t look suspicious,” said Michael Uttaro, Nassau County’s assistant chief fire marshal. “It looks like it was a natural gas emergency.”

The middle house needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. What happens next to the homes on either side is to be determined, following inspections by workers with the Department of Buildings.

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