One person died and five first responders were injured when the garage of a Port Washington home exploded and burst into flames Tuesday night, Nassau County police said.

There were conflicting reports from officials about injuries to first responders. Nassau police said five firefighters were injured; Port Washington tallied four firefighters and one police officer. They all suffered minor injuries. The victim who was found dead inside the garage has yet to be identified, police said.

“You could hear it and feel it a couple of miles away,” Brian Waterson, assistant chief with the Port Washington Fire Department, said of the explosion. “It sounded like a bomb, houses shook.”

Port Washington police were the first to respond to the house at 10 Prospect Ave. after a caller dialed 911 just after 8 p.m. They were met by a 39-year-old woman and 2-year-old child at the house. Police then detected a strong odor of gasoline and evacuated them from the house.

As they were bringing them to safety, the detached garage exploded and burst into flames.

Photos on social media showed heavy, black smoke billowing over Manhasset Bay.

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The Port Washington Fire Department and 23 nearby fire departments responded and extinguished the fire. Fire officials said between 150 to 200 firefighters battled the blaze.

The fire was contained around midnight, according to Waterson. He said investigators were at the scene until 3 a.m.

The blaze engulfed the garage and the house, officials said. The fire spread and damaged nearby homes and property.

Waterson said it’s unclear why the person was inside the garage before it exploded.

The Nassau County Fire Marshal and Nassau police Arson/Bomb Squad are investigating the cause of the blaze.


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