Deadly Bronx house explosion caught on surveillance camera

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Thursday, January 20, 2022
Surveillance video shows deadly Bronx explosion
Video of Bronx explosion courtesy of Jonathan Falzon.

LONGWOOD, Bronx (WABC) -- Surveillance video captured an apparent gas explosion at a home in the Bronx that left one woman dead and several others injured.

Police don't suspect any foul play and neighbors say they smelled gas before the house exploded and collapsed around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

A neighbor's doorbell camera captured the moment the home exploded on Fox Street.

Video of Bronx explosion courtesy of Jonathan Falzon.

Four homes will now have to be demolished as a result of the explosion, NYC Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. said.

The fire certainly has the hallmarks of a gas explosion, but authorities haven't said for sure. It's still under investigation.

Police say three women between the ages of 68 and 82 were inside at the time of the incident -- the victim, her neighbor and her sister.

Two of them are now being treated at Jacobi Hospital and said to be stable, but a 79-year-old woman, Martha Dagbatsa, was pronounced dead.

Before the building collapsed, a dramatic rescue was captured on police body camera as they rushed to rescue Dagbasta's 68-year-old neighbor.

Neighbors heard screams and officers rushed in to save the woman trapped under a couch.

Police release body cam footage of NYPD officers rescuing people from a home after a suspected gas explosion in the Bronx.

Hero officer Capt. Anthony Macias said his only thought was how to get her out safely.

"The floor was crumbling under our feet and underneath we could see the small flames," Macias said.

The officers didn't even stop to think about the fact that the entire house could have come down on top of them or another explosion could have followed.

"As I stated, when you see the body camera video, you are going to see the quick response of the officers, going into a burning building, next door from the explosion, not realizing if there would have been an additional explosion. They went inside and carried out a woman who was trapped inside," Mayor Eric Adams said.

Five of those officers suffered minor injuries.

Now friends, family and neighbors are left to mourn one Dagbatsa, who is well-known across the neighborhood.

"She's like a mother to me, we were at church when we found out and the one I was scared to tell was my mother," friend Jose Rojas said.

Rojas said Dagbatsa is from West Africa and a close friend of his 86-year-old mother.

"She only spoke English and my mother spoke Spanish, somehow they communicated together," Rojas said. "Don't ask me how. They knew what each other was saying. They broke bread mostly every time for lunch."

Her family released the following statement that said in part:

"We have lost Mrs. Martha Dagbatsa, 79, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and sister. We mourn her departure from this world but find comfort knowing she is resting in peace with our Lord in Heaven. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to the family to offer your condolences. We are happy to report that Mrs. Dagbatsa's sister, who survived the incident, is doing well and on the road to recovery. Thank you to community members Christopher Rodriguez and Benancio Caba for your heroic actions, immediately jumping into action and helping victims to safety. Thank you to the courageous first responders from NYPD, FDNY and EMS. We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured 41st Precinct officers. We're happy that our neighbors on and around Fox St. are okay and are saddened that some of you have lost or been put out of your homes. We pray for you and your families."

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