A downed power line apparently sparked the fire on Bridle Road in New Hempstead just after 1 a.m.
Flames crackled in the middle of the road and on the sidewalk while firefighters tried to figure out the best way to fight the blaze.
Crews weren't immediately able to put it out completely because the fire was being fueled by an underground leaking natural gas line.
The electrical power was cut by Orange and Rockland Utilities, which knocked out electricity to19 homes.
The fire was allowed to burn until crews were able to shut off the natural gas.
When the gas was shut off, the fire department extinguished the street and patch of lawn that was on fire.
As a precaution, the residents of 17 homes were advised to evacuate their homes until the gas leak was found, repaired and services were restored to the residences.