Sunday 2 August 2015

Three dead, 60 injured in massive New York blast

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

Published 13/03/2014 | 02:30

Fire Department of New York respond to a five-alarm fire and building collapse at 1646 Park Ave in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan
Fire Department of New York respond to a five-alarm fire and building collapse at 1646 Park Ave in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan
Firefighters from the Fire Department of New York respond to a five-alarm fire and building collapse in the Harlem neighborhood
Firefighters from the Fire Department of New York respond to a 5-alarm fire and building collapse in the Harlem neighborhood
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio talks to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito before a press conference to report on a five-alarm fire and building collapse

A major explosion caused by a gas leak on Wednesday reduced a pair of New York apartment buildings to rubble, killing at least three people, injuring more than 60 people and blowing out windows for several city blocks.

Mayor Bill de Blasio described the incident as “a tragedy of the worst kind,” saying a number of people were still unaccounted for as firefighters battled to extinguish a subsequent blaze in East Harlem.

The explosion was felt more than a mile away and sent dust billowing into the streets of Manhattan – sparking inevitable reminders for some New Yorkers of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Others said it felt like an earthquake, or thought a train must have derailed from nearby tracks.

Mr de Blasio said: “There was no indication in time to save people. We know we have lost two people already [a third fatality was later confirmed]. There is a tremendous amount of anxiety but, suffice it to say, that every effort is being expended to locate each and every one of these missing individuals.”

He said 15 residential apartments, six in one building and nine in the other, had been destroyed. One of the buildings contained a piano shop on the ground floor, and the other one housed a small church.

An explosion has leveled a five-story New York City residential building, shooting flames and billowing black smoke above the skyline. One person was killed and 15 people were treated for minor injuries, police said. Reuters
An explosion has leveled a five-story New York City residential building, shooting flames and billowing black smoke above the skyline. One person was killed and 15 people were treated for minor injuries, police said. Reuters
New York City firefighters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuters
Emergency workers respond to the scene of an explosion and building collapse in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. The explosion leveled an apartment building, and sent flames and billowing black smoke above the skyline. AP
New York City firefighters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuters
New York City firefighters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuter
New York City Firefighters dig through rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuters
A victim is evacuated by emergency personal near an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York City. Reuters
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire as smoke bellows from the site of a building collapse in Harlem, New York in this picture provided by Adnan Islam. Reuters
Firefighters respond to an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. AP
A man is loaded onto a stretcher by emergency service workers near the scene of where the two buildings collapsed. Reuters
New York City firefighters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuters
New York City firefighters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuters
New York City firefighters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion and collapse in the Harlem section of New York. Reuters
Smoke rises from the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York in this picture provided by the New York City Mayor's Office. Reuters
Firemen stand in the rubble at an apparent building explosion fire and collapse in the Harlem section of New York, in this picture provided by the New York City Mayor's Office. Reuters
Firemen continue to spray water on the rubble at an apparent building explosion and collapse in the Harlem section of New York, in this picture provided by the New York City Mayor's Office. Reuters

At 9.13am a call from a neighbouring apartment building alerted a local energy company to the smell of gas. The explosion came barely 15 minutes later and more than 250 firefighters were sent to the scene.

Robert Santiago, a witness, said: “I thought the world was coming to an end, an earthquake or something like that. Terrible.”

Jennifer Salas, 20, lived in one of the buildings. In tears she told The New York Times that her husband, Jordy Salas, was inside and remained missing.

She said: “There’s six floors in the building; each floor has one apartment. Last night it smelled like gas but then the smell vanished and we all went to sleep.

“We tried to find the source of the gas but since the smell left, we all went to sleep.”

 Eusebio Perez, 48, a piano technician who lived on the top floor but was at work, said: “There’s nothing left. A pile of bricks. Nothing’s there.”

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News