A car driven by an elderly woman crashed into two utility poles Saturday afternoon in Roslyn Harbor, sparking a raging fire and knocking out power to the block, the fire department said.
The 1:30 p.m. crash near 695 Bryant Ave. knocked over power lines that burned into the asphalt between Motts Cove Road South and Glenwood Road. That set a natural gas line ablaze, said Glenwood Fire Department Chief Michael Riccardo.
"It was a domino effect," he said.
Firefighters initially were unable to get close to the scene due to the intensity of the fire. The fire department and National Grid crews turned off the gas, and the block now has no power.
More than a dozen homes in the area were evacuated, authorities said.
As of 5 p.m., smoke was still billowing from the wreck. Firefighters doused it with water. Neighbors who left their evacuated homes stood behind barricades early Saturday afternoon.
Eleven-year-old Brant Steinberg, who lives in a house near the fire, said he was watching ESPN and eating snacks at the kitchen table when he heard a big noise.
"I heard two big bangs and a long beep," Brant said, standing with his dad Ira. "I went outside and the car was smashed into shreds."