Gas Tanker Explodes On Long Island, Burning Street, Nearby Buildings

Photo: AFP

A tanker truck carrying thousands of gasoline exploded early-Wednesday in Rockville Centre, burning two buildings and even setting the street ablaze.

Authorities received a call around 1 a.m. Wednesday about an overturned tanker on Sunrise Highway between North Centre Avenue and North Park Avenue.

Rockville Centre Fire Chief of Department James Avondet told reporters that the blaze was "one of the worst things I've seen in my 47-year career."

He recalled seeing "fire everywhere," when he responded. Flames could even be seen coming from manhole covers.

The only civilian injured in the incident was the truck driver, who was treated and released from a local hospital. He was being questioned by police about the crash. It remained unclear how the tanker flipped.

It was estimated that the tanker was carrying about 9,500 gallons of gasoline.

Three firefighters were hurt; two were later released from the hospital.

Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control by daylight. The flames severely damaged a nearby liquor store and an abandoned furniture store.

Utilities in the area were cut off due to damage from the explosion, and about 500 homes were without power as of 9:30 a.m. Sunrise Highway was expected to remain closed until about 2 p.m.

The Coast Guard is monitoring local waters for contamination from gas.

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