A home exploded in Hempstead on Wednesday. (Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)
A home exploded in Hempstead on Wednesday. (Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)

A house explosion rocked a Hempstead neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, collapsing the structure on itself and damaging two homes next door.

Hempstead village police and firefighters from surrounding areas responded to the scene on Perry Street near the corner of Cedar Street at about 2:30 p.m.

Officials at the scene said the house appears to have been vacant at the time but are searching the rubble to be sure.

“I thought a car hit my house,” said Joseph Berrouet, 65, who was awakened when he felt his home rattle a block away. “It was a terrible noise.”

A National Grid spokeswoman told reporters that the initial investigation revealed no signs of a gas leak, although neighbors reportedly smelled gas in the days leading up to the blast.

The Nassau County Fire Marshall’s investigators are continuing the probe while construction equipment was brought in to sift through the debris.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.