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Feb 11, 2015 2:37 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Man In Critical Condition Following Water Mill House Explosion Wednesday Afternoon

Feb 12, 2015 2:50 PM

UPDATE: 9 p.m.

Rolando Perez, 40, and Abner Canel, 18, both of Riverhead have been identified as the men working in the basement of the house on Wednesday afternoon when it is believed they accidentally cut a gas line triggering the explosion, Southampton Town Police said on Wednesday night.

Police say Mr. Canel is currenty listed in critical condition while Mr. Perez is stable. Both men are being treated at Stony Brook University Hospital, where they were airlifted By Suffolk County Police helicopter from the Parrish Art Museum after being transported by the Southampton Volunteer and Southampton Village Volunteer ambulance companies shortly after the accident. The North Sea Fire Department was on call at the Parrish Art Museum.

According to police, the explosion happened at approximately 2:13 p.m., when several neighbors and motorists reported an explosive boom and seeing grey and black smoke billowing from the area.

The house was completely demolished as a result of the explosion.

UPDATE: 4:32 p.m.

Representatives from both PSEG Long Island and National Grid confirmed that services have been cut to the area to aid fire personnel on scene.

UPDATE: 4:08 p.m.

Two men were medevaced to Stony Brook University Hospital with facial injuries as a result of the explosion, which Southampton Town Police Sergeant Susan Ralph said is believed to have been caused by a gas leak.

Several condo's across the street from the house, located at 21 Old Country Road, were evacuated and town police are evaluating the homes for damage and safety.

Sgt. Ralph also confirmed that the house was being worked on at the time of the explosion, but only the two men who were injured were inside at the time.

Eastbound traffic on Montauk Highway is still being diverted.

The Southampton Fire Department remains on scene, as well as the Southampton Town Police, Southampton Town Fire Marshals office, Southampton Volunteer Ambulance, and the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance.

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

The eastbound lane of Montauk Highway, near Cobb Road and County Road 39, has been closed, according to a notification from Southampton Town. Town officials are advising drivers to find an alternative route to head east.

UPDATE: 3:10 p.m.

“My house shook like I’ve never felt before,” said Phil Gallo, who lives a quarter-mile from the site of the explosion. “I jumped in the car and drove over there. It leveled that house. It’s just gone.”

Mr. Gallo said that two men who he was told by neighbors had been working in the house at the time of the explosion were sitting on the ground near the street, badly burned but alive.

According to an EMT on scene, one of the men had suffered severe wounds to his face.

Medevac helicopters from both Suffolk and Nassau counties also responded.

Chatter on the police scanner also indicated that several condominiums in the area were damaged in the blast from the explosion, but it is unclear how extensive the damage was.

UPDATE: Wednesday, 2:50 p.m.

According to a neighbor on Head of Pond Road, Austin Handler, he heard what he described as a huge explosion before seeing the house on Old Country Road fully engulfed in flames. Mr. Handler also saw a lot of debris on the roadway, and reports seeing two men on the scene with injuries.


Reports of a house fire on Old Country Road in Water Mill came over the police scanner around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Chatter on the radio indicated that a house had exploded.

Town Police, Southampton Volunteer Ambulance and the Southampton Fire Department were called to 21 Old Country Road.

A school official at the Southampton School District office said the district office building shook.

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deja vu all over again. Same condo that was in the news in september http://www.27east.com/photo-gallery/article.cfm/78474#94724
By EIEIO (3), new york on Feb 11, 15 4:19 PM
Well this story is more about a house and a gas explosion than a car running into a condo......
By SHResident (59), Southampton on Feb 11, 15 4:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not the condos but they did have damage.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Feb 12, 15 7:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
This wasn't the condos, it was a house behind the condos.
By TheWaterMillian (34), Water Mill on Feb 12, 15 6:31 PM
Please don't lock articles on breaking news.
By AliciaRyder (1), Southampton, New York on Feb 11, 15 4:29 PM
When I saw the smoke I was hoping it was that atrocious Parrish Art museum. Hope all is well with the injured
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Feb 11, 15 8:51 PM
4 members liked this comment
Never mind the people who work there. I guess it's okay if they go up in smoke as long you don't have to be bothered by the sight anymore. Seems extremely heartless to me to wish the death of countless people just so you don't need to look at a building.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 7:03 AM
I see sarcasm in his comment....ugh. SMH
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Feb 12, 15 7:51 AM
No reason to mention another building blowing up when two men are fighting for their lives. Heartless, senseless comment. Period. If it had happened at the Parrish, all the people visiting and working would have been endangered. Facts So smack your head all day, maybe you will get some sense knock into it...and some humanity.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 8:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
Its Shaking MY Head and NO ONE wishes harm to anyone. Really? ...a bit sensitive aren't you? It was sarcasm ....and here's more sarcasm for you to fret over. Too bad it wasn't those God awful sculptures in FRONT of the Parrish...NOW if no one was playing on them....you would have no one to worry about. Im sure you will find something...good luck! * kisses*
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Feb 13, 15 7:29 AM
I apologize, I am not a teenager and still value the use of the English Language and therefore, use full words when typing. I had no idea "SMH" meant "Shaking my head"
To your comment about the sculptures - sarcasm aside, why would you want someones work of art to be destroyed? That doesn't even matter really because this story is about a HOME that blew up...A HOME...and two MEN (one just a boy really) who are INJURED...and you guys are making jokes. Poor taste. I don't care if you think you ...more
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Feb 13, 15 8:53 AM
Oh, now you're an architecture judge?
By Local dad (51), Southampton on Feb 11, 15 9:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
I second the wishful accidental destruction of Gus Fring's laundry....oops, I mean of the Parrish Art Museum.
By btdt (449), water mill on Feb 11, 15 11:49 PM
2 members liked this comment
See my response to the heartless guy above you. Please keep in mind when making these statements, two people are badly hurt, someone lost their home, and if it had been a company or museum workers would have been hurt or worse. The dislike of s building doesn't warrrent the wish of harm to others.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 7:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
See if I care that you clutch your pearls at absolutely nothing. You are what is known as a "concern troll," pretending that people are saying something harmful when they certainly are not. Your deliberate misinterpretation of a joke and accusations that people are wishing harm come to others is just your imagination flinging poo at the wall. Thanks for your false concern, but no thanks.
By btdt (449), water mill on Mar 2, 15 4:57 PM
No see actually I do find it cruel to make stupid jokes at the expense of a tragity. I'm sorry if you think I'm a "concern troll" (nice made up term by they way). I assure you I am not a "troll" but a human who doesn't find it funny to make these kind of comments. My only hope was to make you poor souls think before posting rude, heartless, comments like this again.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Mar 6, 15 4:43 PM
He didn't say he wanted the people to be injured at the museum. It's called sarcasm look it up I didn't get any heartlessness out of it. He was merely saying its a awful looking building you don't need a architectal degree to see that.
By Remsen (68), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 8:01 AM
2 members liked this comment
2:00 in the afternoon - museum open - people working - people visiting...building explodes...what do you think would happen? Again two people are fighting for life and people are making jokes...I don't understand this level of inhumanity...not just from the original comments but from the people defending them.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 8:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
It was reported in todays Newsday that the house did not have a permit for demolition. Total demo permits usually require utility disconnects .Of course I don't know if it was a partial or total demo. Hopefully the two workers are being paid on the books so that they have workers comp for their injuries. Two very, very, lucky workers today and it could have bee much much worse. Amazing response and luck having PSEG workers nearby, including the airlift to Stony Brook. We have a great volunteer ems ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Feb 12, 15 9:34 AM
3 members liked this comment
Who said they were taking down the house? There were no machines at the site so where did you get the info? PSEG has nothing to do with gas it's National Grid. You're just full of useful information.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 12, 15 10:30 AM
Which house is the one that blew up? Not the old McKeever house?
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 11:45 AM
Yes, the old McKeever house. Carpenter before that.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 12, 15 1:57 PM
Electricity would have had to be shut off and quickly, so yes a good thing the PSEG workers were quickly on the scene.
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 11:46 AM
The Google map shown is of Old Country Road in EAST QUOGUE...not Water Mill.
By ShelleyB (28), East Hampton on Feb 12, 15 2:51 PM
The short side road across from Cobb is Old Country Road.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 12, 15 3:52 PM
Thank you for putting up the proper map now.
By ShelleyB (28), East Hampton on Feb 12, 15 7:11 PM
I would like to take the time to Thank all of the Firefighters and EMS personnel who sacrifice everyday to help our community. You train all year round selflessly and it shows when and an incident like this happens.

By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Feb 12, 15 3:37 PM
Did anyone find out if these workers were even legal??
By Shady 95 (1), Water Mill on Feb 19, 15 12:13 PM