Many area residents and passersby on Montauk Highway called Southampton Town police at 2:13 p.m. Wednesday to report an “explosive boom” in Water Mill, and emergency responders arrived to find the house at 21 Old County Road engulfed in flames. Two men were injured, one critically.
Investigating Southampton Town Police Department detectives and Southampton Town fire marshals determined the two men had been in the basement, working on the house. Police said the workers accidentally cut a gas pipe, which caused the explosion.
The men suffered severe burns and other wounds. They were seen walking on their own, but with singed clothes. Police and ambulance personnel initially treated the victims, then Southampton Volunteer Ambulance and Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance transported them to a helicopter landing zone manned by North Sea Fire Department. A Suffolk County police medevac helicopter airlifted them to Stony Brook University Hospital.
Rolando Perez, 40, of Riverhead was listed in stable condition, and Abner Canel, 18, of Riverhead was listed in critical condition.
Southampton Fire Department extinguished the flames, but there was no house left to save.
National Grid responded to the scene.