House destroyed in propane mishap

By Queens Courier Staff |

Sonia Robinson’s first reaction was to get out.

“I said to my daughter, ‘Let’s get out of the house,’” she said of the Monday, October 26 Flushing blast that left an entire building torn apart, resembling a dollhouse.

“I thought the entire building fell in,” said Robinson, who lives near the house where the blast took place. “All of the car alarms went off. My husband thought it was a bomb.”

The explosion, at the two-story, one-family all brick home located at 32-35 Leavitt Street, was reportedly caused when David Chin, 61, bled out a 20-pound propane tank. Fire officials said that some of the gas apparently wafted inside and was ignited.

Chin, who received injuries to his face and forearms in the blast, was taken to the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center burn unit. Reports say that doctors feel a lung may also be damaged. His wife reportedly received a concussion and minor burns.

“It was very loud,” said George Begas, 35, who lives around the corner. “Not only did I hear it, but I felt it. I thought a construction crane fell. They said it was a propane tank in the back, but how could the whole front of the house fall off from a propane tank in the back?”

Days after the blast, with the rear of the house completely gone, crews were removing debris and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had shut off the water. Pictures still hung on the wall and clothes still hung in a closet. Reports claim that the home is to be repaired.