WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) – The explosion that gutted a two-story home where a man was found dead likely was not an accident, investigators said Wednesday.

Homeowner David Bhola, 44, was found in the basement of the home Tuesday, three hours after the afternoon fire started, Nassau County officials said.

An unconnected gas line and an accelerant, used to fuel fire, were discovered inside the home. Signs of the accelerant were in the basement near where Bhola’s body was found, fire investigators said.

“This fire did not start by itself,” said Detective Lt. Dennis Farrell, commander of Nassau’s Homicide Squad.

Bhola’s body was found after firefighters pumped out water that had flooded the basement. The cause of death hadn’t been determined, but investigators said the fire started in the basement. No arrests had been made.

Neighbors said they heard a big boom.

“I heard an explosion, one boom that was very loud,” recalled Robert Smith, who said he then realized the house was on fire.

“There were flames licking up the side of the house on both sides.”


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