Victim identified in deadly boat explosion in Port Washington

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Kristin Thorne reports on the dock worker who returned to work after saving lives from a deadly boat explosion (WABC)

The man killed when a boat exploded at the Manhasset Bay Marina in Port Washington on Wednesday has been identified as Bob Hogan, former mayor of Plandome Manor and a retired NYPD captain.

Meanwhile, the injured dock worker who probably saved many other lives by towing the burning boat away from the dock is now speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News.

"Everything happened in a few minutes," said the worker, Jose Soriano.

The explosion happened as Hogan was refueling his 33 foot Carver motor boat at a pumping station.

A passenger on the boat jumped off into the water, but was not injured.

"I feel bad for the guy who died, because I saw him floating in the water and I can't do nothing about it," said Soriano.

What Jose did do was brave. He raced towards the fire in his work boat, and tied and towed the engulfed boat way from the dock, preventing more explosions.

"I decided to pull it away from the other boats because if the fire caught the others boats, it would be a big disaster," he said.

Boat owner Tom Asma calls Jose a hero who saved the docks.

"If he hadn't done that, my boat and all the other boats on my side would've been gone," said Asma.

Investigators are searching for the cause of the explosion, which happened around 2:45 p.m. at the marina on Matincock Avenue as the owner was fueling up the boat.

"With a boat of this size, it's an inboard tank and pumps have to be on to keep air flowing and avoid gas buildup," said John Azzata, of the Nassau County Homicide Squad.

The smoke could be seen for miles, shooting from the boat. "It was engulfed in flames, so much smoke (that) another boat was throwing water on it," said witness Ani O'Hanlon.

Witnesses said they couldn't look away, not just because of the flames but because of Soriano, who stopped it from killing more people.

One witness watched him tow the fiery craft away from the marina, even though the fire could have gotten worse and enveloped him.

"The flames were over his head. You could see him doing the right thing, pulling it away from anything else that could blow up. Somebody quick on his feet. God bless him," said Devorah Shubert, another witness.

Police said two docks, and other nearby boats have damage.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that a gas buildup may have caused the blast.

Jose is back at work with a badly burned arm and ear.

"At that moment I don't think of what will happen to me but I just decide to grab the boat and pull it away," he said.

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