Injured toll climbs in New York building explosion

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Injured toll from explosion that destroyed two buildings in East Harlem, New York, climbs to 20 with a number of people still unaccounted for

Injured toll from explosion that destroyed two buildings in East Harlem, New York, climbs to 20 with a number of people still unaccounted for

NEW YORK - The injured toll has increased to 20 from a suspected gas explosion that destroyed two buildings in East Harlem, New York.

An Anadolu Agency news reporter at the scene of the incident has said that there is still a strong burning smell in the neighborhood and that the area is closed off for at least two blocks from the collapsed buildings

Along with the firefighters, many worried family members were searching the debris for their loved ones and repeatedly calling phones that were not being answered, according to the Anadolu Agency reporter.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference shortly after the explosion that it was "a tragedy of the worst kind."

Blasio added that preliminary reports indicate the warning of a gas leak came just 15 minutes before the explosion and Sidney Alvarez, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison Inc., the main electric and gas company in New York, confirmed that around 9.15am they had received a report of a gas odor from a resident of 1652 Park Avenue.

Around 250 firefighters were at the scene and are now in the process clearing rubble and searching for an unconfirmed number of missing people.

The gas and electricity services in the area have been shut down as crews also look for gas leaks.

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