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A series of explosions ripped through a Long Island...

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BELLPORT, N.Y. -- A series of explosions ripped through a Long Island fireworks factory Saturday, heavily damaging 20 nearby homes and blowing out windows for blocks around the complex. Six people were listed as missing.

The first blast occurred 11:10 a.m. at the headquarters of Grucci's, the firm that coordinated the fireworks extravaganza celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge, Suffolk County Police said.

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Seconds later another blast shook homes for more than a mile. Witnesses reported hearing a third blast at 11:30 p.m.

The series of explosions also ignited a blaze at the complex, and fire companies from six neighboring communities were called in to help battle the flames.

The complex is located about 50 miles east of New York City.

At least six people were reported missing in the rubble of damaged homes around the factory. Police said 20 homes were 'heavily damaged.'

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'It was almost like a bomb going off down the road. I could feel it,' Bob Baron, who lives three miles from the site.

The factory is a family-owned business that had been involved in a running dispute with local authorities about expansion plans, authorities said.

'It was just a big big explosion,' said Jim Scordamaglia, 29, who was visiting friends agout a mile away when the explosion occurred. 'My brother was outside and he said he saw all these sparks go up. Then whole house shook.'

A series of explosions ripped through a Long Island fireworks factory Saturday, heavily damaging 20 nearby homes and blowing out windows for blocks around the complex. Six people were listed as missing.

The first blast occurred 11:10 a.m. at the headquarters of Grucci's, the firm that coordinated the fireworks extravaganza celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge, Suffolk County Police said.

Seconds later another blast shook homes for more than a mile. Witnesses reported hearing a third blast at 11:30 p.m.

The series of explosions also ignited a blaze at the complex, and fire companies from six neighboring communities were called in to help battle the flames.

It was not known what caused the explosion or if anyone was inside at the time.

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The complex is located about 50 miles east of New York City.

At least six people were reported missing in the rubble of damaged homes around the factory. Police said 20 homes were 'heavily damaged.'

'It was almost like a bomb going off down the road. I could feel it,' said Bob Baron, who lives three miles from the site.

The factory is a family-owned business that had been involved in a running dispute with local authorities about expansion plans, authorities said.

'It was just a big big explosion,' said Jim Scordamaglia, 29, who was visiting friends agout a mile away when the explosion occurred. 'My brother was outside and he said he saw all these sparks go up. Then whole house shook.'

He said moments after the first explosion, a display of multi-colored fireworks filled the sky.

Several minutes later, Scordamaglia said, the fireworks subsided and a mushroom-shaped cloud of billowing smoke hovered over the area.

Baron said that the windows of homes for several blocks around the factory were blown out from the impact of the blast.

'The windows are out on homes up to a half-mile away from the scene,' Scordamaglia added.

Maureen Veitch, 25, a Manhattan resident visiting friends on North Howell Point Road, said the blast made the building shake where she was, more than a mile from the devastated factory.

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'At first I thought it was something in the basement. I figured maybe the boiler blew up,' Ms. Veitch said, adding, 'Then we ran out back and we saw all the smoke.

'Everyone dropped what they were doing and ran to the windows,' she said.

Residents said managers of the plant had applied to the local governing body last summer asking for permission to enlarge the plant.

They said the company was located in a residential area and needed a zoning change before they could expand.

'But there was a lot of objection to it and it was shot down right away,' one resident said.

Neighbors said, however, the Gruccis had operated their plant in town for a number of years and that few residents objected to its continued operation as long as it did not expand.

A spokeswoman for the family, reached by home at her Bellport residence, refused comment.

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