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Fire engulfs auto mechanic shop in Brentwood, sets off explosions, officials say

Firefighters battle a fire at the BP gas

Firefighters battle a fire at the BP gas station at 725 Suffolk Ave. in Brentwood Monday evening, Dec. 22, 2014 that started after one car caught fire in the garage and it spread to other cars nearby, officials said. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A blaze that engulfed an auto mechanic's shop in Brentwood set off explosions Monday night before about 150 firefighters put it out, a fire official said.

"There were multiple containers that exploded," Brentwood fire Chief Javier Valentin said. "We actually had one of the containers that shot across the street and hit one of the fire engines."

No one was hurt by the exploding containers and the fire did not reach the gas pumps or tanks at the shop, which was attached to a BP gas station at 725 Suffolk Ave.

The cause of the fire was under investigation but did not appear suspicious, Valentin said. One firefighter was treated at Southside Hospital for minor injuries, he said.

It took about three hours to contain the fire after the call came in at 4:49 p.m., he said. Firefighters arriving at the scene saw a garage with three bays for auto repair ablaze.

Valentin said they were aware of the potential for gas tanks to explode but the fire was isolated from the building and there were no gas leaks. They were also aware that there could be containers holding flammable material as they fought the blaze.

"We always keep it in the back of your head," he said. "You know the nature of the business here, so there's always that possibility that they have containers around."

Valentin didn't identify the container that shot about 50 feet to hit the fire engine and dented its door. The engine will need to be repaired but is still in service, he said.

The convenience store portion of the building suffered water damage and the roof burned but the fire didn't spread inside.

Police closed the intersection at Suffolk and Monroe avenues near where the gas station is located.

Valentin wouldn't characterize the extent of the damage, but said town workers had begun demolishing parts of the building after the fire was put out.

Firefighters from multiple departments, including Brentwood, Bay Shore, East Brentwood, Central Islip, Islip Terrace and Islip fire responded.

-- With Ellen Yan

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