Massive explosion rips up Bath Beach block, levels three homes

Photo Feb 04, 9 21 20 AM
The remains of a Bath Beach building following an explosion and fire on Feb. 4, 2022.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

A massive explosion echoed through a residential block in Bath Beach on Feb, 4, sparking an inferno that tore through three houses, and eventually caused the collapse of two of them.

The two-alarm blast rang out at about 7:15 am at a triplex building at 65-71 Bay 35th St., near the intersection with Benson Avenue. Over 200 smoke-eaters arrived on scene to battle the ensuing blaze, which leveled a sizable portion of the triplex and rendered the building completely uninhabitable, fire officials said.

Firefighters battle a blaze in Bath Beach following the explosion.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Two of the units, 65 and 69 Bay 35th, have been demolished, the Buildings Department confirmed. The other attached unit, 71 Bay 35th, did not collapse but residents have vacated the property by order of the city, and shoring has been installed to prevent it from collapsing. Neighboring 61 Bay 35th suffered minor damage.

The unit that exploded was already vacant, officials said, but six people have been displaced from the two neighboring units in the triplex. No injuries have been reported from the blast. Asked which building was the vacant unit that exploded, DOB referred Brooklyn Paper to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which did not respond to a request for comment.

The building, built in 1935, does not have a long history formal complaints on file with the city; the only one on record is for an illegal basement apartment at 65 Bay 35th in 2010.

Firefighters work to subdue flames.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Neighbors reported smelling gas in the area prior to and after the blast; DOB confirmed that a gas explosion had occurred.

The Red Cross is assisting residents affected by the explosion, and says it has provided the two families living in the affected homes with emergency housing, and one additional family with financial assistance.

The building as it stood in October 2021, prior to the explosion.Google Maps

The explosion comes amidst a rash of serious fires across the city. One person died and eight were injured after a gas explosion in the Bronx last month.

“[If] you smell gas, it’s a unique smell, immediately call 911 so we can the teams out there to investigate,” Mayor Eric Adams said in Bath Beach on Friday.

The Bronx explosion came just days after one of the city’s deadliest fires in decades, at the Bronx’s Twin Parks North West, where a malfunctioning space heater combined with non-self-closing doors caused a massive inferno that left 17 people dead, numerous others injured, and has policymakers questioning existing fire safety policy.

Closer to home, an under-construction building on Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant collapsed due to a massive fire on Monday morning. Firefighters later recovered a body from the rubble.