Blast burns man, spares neighbors


            For many in Queens, the Memorial Day weekend’s festivities will be remembered for the beautiful weather and local parades, but along Murray Street in Flushing, it ended with a garage explosion that sent one man to a burn unit, but miraculously spared his neighbors who were seated just feet away.

            At about 7 p.m. on Monday, May 31, the corner of 27th Avenue and Murray Street was rocked by an explosion that blew the roof off a garage and sent a 31-year-old man to the burn unit of Jacoby Medical Center in the Bronx.

            “The wall landed six feet from me,” said a witness who identified himself as Pietro, who had been visiting for a family barbecue next door. “We were drinking coffee,” he explained.

“Pieces just missed the children,” he added, measuring off less than two feet with his hands – which were still shaking as he recounted the miraculous escape.

Justin Cohen, who lives with his parents in the corner home, was not so lucky. He had burns over 70 percent of his body, according to reports. Three others suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

            According to a police department spokesperson, the blast may have been caused when the lights were turned on in the garage, which also contained high-octane fuel and other flammable liquids. The investigation is continuing.

            “It shook my house,” said Jen Barry, who lives several blocks away on Bayside Avenue. “My daughter on 149th Street said she heard it too.”

            A small crowd of nearby residents stood agape at the scene on Tuesday morning, surveying the wreckage, which included large sections of the roof that were blown on to adjacent homes and into the street.

            Police also say that fireworks were stored in the garage. The NYPD bomb squad responded to the location. “This seems like an accident,” the spokesperson reportedly said, adding that no charges were expected to be filed.