East Village Blast Injures 12, Causes Two Buildings To Collapse
On Thursday, two buildings in Lower Manhattan have collapsed as a result of an explosion, causing a fire that quickly spread to neighboring buildings. At least 12 people were injured in the incident, three of them suffering from critical injuries.
Two of them sustained horrifying burns, while the third was unconscious and was transported to Bellevue.
Residents in the East Village neighborhood were seen making desperate attempts to get out, jumping from fire escapes and rescuing other people stuck in the building.
According to The New York Times, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said during a news conference at the scene that “preliminary evidence suggests a gas-related explosion” was caused by plumbing and gas work occurring at 121 Second Avenue near Seventh Street, one of the two buildings affected by the incident.
The fire also led to the disintegration of an adjacent building, 123 Second Avenue.
Although no missing persons were reported, de Blasio asked relatives or friends to call 311.
Consolidated Edison inspectors were “evaluating the meter installation for a new service … to the building” at the Second Avenue building, utility President Craig Ivey said.
Con Ed President John McAvoy said Con Ed inspectors were assessing a gas service upgrade being done at the building. The inspectors, who were at the site at 2:00pm, discovered there wasn’t enough space to install the new meters; thus, they gave necessary instructions and left.
At 3:17 p.m., the explosion occurred.
The mayor said, “We are not going to speculate on details until we have a full report.
“We have to put those pieces together.”
The building where the fire started constitutes apartments and businesses.
At least 250 firefighters responded to the scene.
The collapsed first floor had a Japanese restaurant. The neighboring building, which had a shop specializing in French fries on the street, was engulfed in fire before collapsing.
Luca Babini was in an office almost a block away when the explosion occurred.
“Everything, my shelf in my office and my computer screen fell down,” he said. “They say it was a gas leak.”
Lorne Colon, another witness, said he saw the “entire building explode” and that there were “definitely people inside the restaurant.”
“Within minutes, there were hundreds of people on the street,” said Colon, as quoted by NBC New York.
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