NEW INFORMATION: 2 NYC buildings collapse in explosion, 2 dead

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York City fire department says more than a dozen people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing two people.

The department also says more than 20 others were injured, including two with life-threatening injuries.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says some of those unaccounted for may have fled to safety. He says the city is expending every effort to locate them.

The White House issued a statement offering "thoughts and prayers" and commending first responders.

The mayor urged worried relatives to call 311. A hotline was being set up.

The cause was not immediately known. However, utility workers were on the way to check out a report of a gas odor at the time of the 9:30 a.m. blast Wednesday.
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NEW YORK (NBC) --Two people are dead, 18 are hurt and others are missing after two buildings collapsed following a gas leak explosion that rattled upper Manhattan and shattered windows with a blast that could be felt blocks away, officials said.

The two five-story buildings at the northwest corner of 116th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem collapsed at about 9:30 a.m., authorities said. Smoke billowed into Central Park and could be seen from miles away in midtown, and New Yorkers said they felt rumbles as far away as 150th Street. Closer to the collapse, groceries were knocked from store shelves and debris floated through the air.

Mayor de Blasio said the buildings are destroyed, and that first responders were digging through the rubble for victims.

The only indication of anything wrong before the explosion was a call to Con Edison from a nearby building, reporting a strong odor of gas just minutes before the blast, the mayor and the utility said. But it was too late.

"This is a tragedy of the worst kind because there was no indication in time to save people,

Earlier Story

An explosion has leveled a New York City apartment building, killing two people and injuring 15 others.

Two people are dead, 20 are hurt and others are missing after two buildings collapsed following an apparent explosion that rattled upper Manhattan and shattered windows with a blast that could be felt blocks away, sources say.

The two five-story buildings at the northwest corner of 116th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem collapsed around 9:30 a.m., sources tell NBC 4 New York. FDNY says 16 to 20 people are injured, and two people have been killed.

City officials said the buildings are destroyed. The cause of the apparent explosion is not known, but Con Edison told NBC 4 New York a resident in a nearby building called the utility minutes before the explosion, reporting a strong smell of gas that seemed to be coming from outside.

Smoke billowed into Central Park and could be seen from miles away in midtown, and New Yorkers said they felt rumbles as far away as 150th Street. Closer to the collapse, groceries were knocked from store shelves and debris floated through the air.

A woman who said she was watching TV in her home about a block away said the explosion blew out her windows.

"All my windows shattered and I didn't know what it was," she said on NBC 4 New York. She said first responders soon arrived at her building and ordered everyone out.

Another woman who was at her home on 115th Street between Park and Lexington avenues said she heard the explosion and thought it was a bomb.

"I thought a train had exploded," said Marisa Aquino.

"It sounded like a bomb. That's what it really sounded like," Trey Dey, a laborer who was working in a nearby basement when the buildings exploded, told NBC 4 New York.

Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to the scene out of an abundance of caution, authorities said.

Relatives of people who lived in the buildings were distraught at the scene.

"I want to know if my daughter is fine," said one woman.

Metro-North service has been suspended out of Grand Central because of debris on tracks.

Earlier Story

(AP) The New York Police Department says one person died. No other information is available.

Residents heard a large explosion near Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem around 9 a.m. Wednesday. One five-story building was reduced to rubble, and images from the scene showed a second building also was badly damaged.

TV news footage shows billowing smoke and firefighters dousing the site from ladder trucks. Bricks also cover parked vehicles.

Sidewalks for blocks around are littered with broken glass from shattered storefront and apartment windows.

The site is next to Metro-North commuter railroad tracks. Train service is halted to and from Grand Central Terminal.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2014 --- 9:51 a.m.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City apartment building has exploded in huge flames and billowing black smoke, leading to the collapse of at least one building and 11 injuries.

The New York City fire department says one of the injuries is serious.

ABC says residents heard a large explosion near Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem around 9 a.m. Wednesday. One five-story building appeared to be reduced to rubble, and images from the scene showed a second building also was damaged.

TV news footage shows billowing smoke and firefighters dousing the site from ladder trucks. Bricks also cover parked vehicles.

The site is next to Metro-North commuter railroad tracks. Train service was halted to and from Grand Central Terminal.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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