Residents of the close-knit Boston neighborhood of Readville were rattled this morning after a massive explosion leveled a house, but thankful the blast hadn't caused any injuries.
Jim Mariano, owner of the nearby BC Baking Co., on Como Road, said he was loading one of his ovens when he heard the boom. At first, he thought it was a plane crashing into the neighborhood, he said.
"There was a loud explosion and then the building rocked, moving like an earthquake," he said.
He said his 95-year-old brick ovens were cracked. The back of his building was charred and the windows of the unused St. Anne's School nearby were blown out.
He said he ran out to see if anyone was hurt and saw the house leveled, transformed into an eight-foot pile of rubble with "embers flying, debris falling."
"It could have been tragic," he said.
The blast happened early this morning at 17 Danny Road. It led public safety officials to evacuate up to 40 homes. The owner, Michael Burns, told the Globe he was on his way to work when he learned about the blast, and no one else was home. No injuries were reported.
Mariano, whose store is a neighborhood institution where Mayor Menino and Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis are known to stop by for rolls, said, "We're pretty fortunate. I'm just concerned for the neighborhood."
Theresa Filleti, 65, who lives on nearby Chesterfield Street, said her husband had just comeback from getting the newspaper.
"It shook the house from the ceiling to the attic," she said.
"The sense of the boom alone was so overwhelming," she said, putting her hands to her cheeks, as if shuddering at an unpleasant feeling. "Oh, so horrible I can't even tell you."
"That's all I thought, I could have been dead this morning," she said.
Helen Sisti, who also lives on Chesterfield Street, said she and her husband were just waking up when they heard an explosion.
Soon after, the neighborhood was crawling with emergency vehicles, she said.
“It was pretty loud,” Sisti, who has lived in her home for 64 years, said. “It woke you up, made you jump. I never heard anything like that before.”
Pieces of pink insulation floated through the air after the explosion, landing in neighboring yards, including Bette Golden’s on nearby Como Road.
Golden said she was watching television when she heard a big bang.
“It felt like the house came up and came down” from its foundation, Golden, 45, said. “The whole thing just was rocking. My TV was jumping.”
She said she walked outside to see what had happened, but police shouted at her and others to get away. Plumes of dark smoke rose from the destroyed home as firefighters started to hose it down, she said.
“You don’t expect it to happen in your neighborhood,” she said. “I’m just surprised that with all the technology we have that this is still happening.”
Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more