APN News

  • Wednesday, April, 2021| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:37:24
  • Two five-storey buildings in upscale Manhattan collapsed Wednesday following a massive explosion triggered by an apparent gas NYFIRE_leak, killing two women and leaving 18 others injured.

    The explosion occurred at about 9:40 AM, minutes after residents from a building at the site of the blast called a company which provides electric service in the area to complain of gas leak.

    “The only indication of danger came 15 minutes” before the blast, which was caused apparently due to the gas leak, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a press conference fromthe site of the explosion.

    The buildings at 116th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem were destroyed. The buildings had housed residential units, a church and a piano store. “This is tragedy of the worst kind because there was no indication in time to save people,” he said, adding that two persons have been confirmed dead, 18 people injured “with different levels of injury” and several others missing.

    About 250 firefighters with dozens of pieces of equipments are at the scene trying to extinguish the fire and clear the rubble to search for any persons trapped in debris.

    President Barack Obama has been informed about the blast. Fire Department commissioner Salvatore Cassano said the destroyed buildings are in a “precarious position.” ConEdison, which provides electric services to the area, is in the process of shutting down all gas lanes going into the building.

    “There will be a search through the building’s rubble as soon as the fire is put out to look for those missing. We want to emphasize to all family all friends: we are expending every effort to locate each and every loved ones,” the Mayor said, adding there is “tremendous amount of anxiety” among the residents of the neighbourhood about the explosion.

    Authorities say a call was made to ConEdison at about 9:13 AM to complain of gas leak at the building. The agency dispatched a crew at 9:15 AM and the blast occurred at 9:40 AM.

    They say they do not believe the explosion was terror- related but a Joint Terrorism Task Force unit has responded to the scene out of an abundance of caution. Clouds of smoke were seen billowing from the two buildings as firefighters tried to clear the rubble of stones, broken glass and damaged property.

    Cars parked on the sides of the street at the site of the explosion have also been significantly damaged. Residents in the area reported hearing a huge explosion that shattered glass of several adjacent buildings and threw debris onto railway tracks just next to the explosion site.

    Train services in and out of the Grand Central terminal, which connects the city’s suburbs to Manhattan, have been suspended as firefighters work to clear the tracks of rubble and inspect for any other damage.

    “Metro-North service is suspended into and out of Manhattan following the explosion and collapse of two buildings in East Harlem next to Metro-North tracks,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on its website.

    People have been handed out masks to wear as smoke in the area is making it difficult for them to breathe. Red Cross has set up a centre near the site to provide food, water and a safe place to those affected by the blast.