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News 12 Long Island) MANDATORY CREDIT, Associated Press
This image taken from video provided by News 12 Long Island shows the wreckage of a house that was destroyed by an apparent gas-related explosion, killing a toddler and sending 14 other people to hospitals, in the Long Island town of Brentwood, N.Y., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. The entire structure of the house, situated on a block of well-kept, modest homes, was reduced to small shards of wood, plywood, drywall, insulation and other building material.

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — An apparent explosion has destroyed a house in a Long Island suburb of New York City, killing a child and sending 17 others to hospitals.

Suffolk County police say surrounding houses also were damaged during the blast Tuesday in Brentwood.

Police say 18-month-old Rah-quan Palmer was killed. His parents, residents, a plumber, insurance agent and several rescuers were also injured.

A fire official says propane was being investigated as a possible cause.

Neighbors many blocks away felt their own homes shake.

Dave Grant heard the explosion and raced about seven blocks. He heard one officer yelling "We need help!" He assisted other officers as they lifted the collapsing roof to rescue a man.

The chief of the Suffolk County homicide squad says it will take some time to determine the exact cause.