An explosion apparently caused by a gas leak has flattened two New York City apartment buildings, killing at least 8 people, injuring more than 60, and leaving at least 5 missing. One tenant said residents had complained repeatedly in recent weeks about “unbearable” gas smells. Smoke billowed above the city’s skyline, and sidewalks in Harlem were littered with broken glass from shattered storefront and apartment windows. Witnesses said the explosion was so powerful it knocked groceries off store shelves and sent people running into the streets. CCTV’s Liling Tan reports.
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- Update on March 13th, 2014: NYC mayor’s office confirms 7th person dead in Harlem gas explosion, 5 missing.
- March 12th, 2014: At 4.15 pm, FDNY updated the injury information for the explosion as 2 fatalities, 2 serious/life-threatening, 5 serious/non-life threatening and 15 minor injuries.
- Crews still on the scene. Searching the ruble for the missing.
- Red Cross has set up a center at PS57 (176 E. 115th St.) for individuals and families affected.
- 2 fatalities, 2 serious/life-threatening, 5 serious/non-life threatening, 15 minor according to New York City Fire Department.
- In the immediate area of the buildings, air quality is not good – city official.
- FDNY response time to call was two minutes.
- Cause is unknown at this time but appears to be a gas explosion (NY Daily News)
- Location of fire is 1644-1646 Park Ave (cross streets: 116th St and Park Ave) (1644-Spanish Christian Church and 1646-Absolute Piano store on bottom floors, residential housing above)
- At 9:15 a.m. two Con Edison crews were dispatched after a report of a heavy gas odor came in at 9:13 a.m for an adjoining building (not the buildings that exploded), according to a spokeswoman for the company. They arrived shortly after the explosion which happened around 9:30.
- Service into and out of Grand Central Terminal is temporarily suspended until further notice due to explosion (MTA Twitter) (New Service Plan)
- The Metro-North commuter railroad, which serves 280,000 riders a day in New York and Connecticut, suspended all train service to and from Grand Central while the debris was removed from its elevated tracks nearby.
- No current work permits issued for the buildings.
- The White House issued a statement offering “thoughts and prayers” and commending first responders.
- The Fire Department said it was checking its records to see if it had responded to any gas complaints at the building.
This report contains information from The Associated Press.