DEATH TOLL RISING: Seventh Person Found Dead In NYC Gas Explosion

A seventh person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings.

Fire Department spokesman Danny Glover said Thursday morning that a seventh body had been found in the rubble. Three bodies were found Wednesday and three more overnight.

A gas leak triggered the explosion Wednesday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.

The explosion shattered windows a block away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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A sixth person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings.

Fire department spokesman Michael Parrella says the body of an unidentified male was found in the rubble around 3:15 a.m. Thursday. A half hour earlier, a woman's body had been found.

A gas leak triggered the explosion Wednesday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.

The explosion shattered windows a block away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., about 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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A fifth person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings.

Police Sgt. John Buthorn says the body of an adult female was found among the debris around 2:50 a.m. Thursday. He says the number of people unaccounted for is about five.

A gas leak triggered the explosion Wednesday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.

The explosion shattered windows a block away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., about 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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The New York City fire department says a fourth person had been found dead in a gas explosion in Harlem.

The fire department says the body of an adult male was pulled from the rubble just after midnight Wednesday.

The explosion flattened two apartment buildings Wednesday morning, about 15 minutes after a nearby resident reported smelling gas.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Rescue workers haven't yet been able to venture into the rubble of two apartment buildings in New York's East Harlem neighborhood to look for additional victims of an explosion that brought down the two five-story buildings this morning.

Three people are confirmed dead, nine missing and more than 20 people injured. And authorities say more than a dozen are missing -- but they're not sure how many of them may have been in the apartment buildings when the explosion took place.

A tenant says residents had complained repeatedly in recent weeks about "unbearable" gas smells. But the utility Con Edison says it hadn't heard of any issues with the gas until this morning, shortly before the explosion.

One man says the explosion destroyed everything his family owned. He's assuming his five-year-old terrier was killed.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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A resident of a New York City apartment building that was flattened by an explosion says the smell of gas was "unbearable" and residents complained about it repeatedly.

Ruben Borrero says residents complained to the landlord about the smell as recently as Tuesday, a day before the explosion.

He says a few weeks ago, city fire officials were called about the smell because it was so bad that a resident on the top floor busted open the door to the roof for ventilation.

The explosion leveled two buildings, killed at least two people and injured more than 20. More than a dozen are still unaccounted for.

Borrero lived on the second floor with his mother and sister. None of them were at home at the time of the explosion, but he assumes his terrier is dead.

Con Edison says it received no gas complaints from the building before Wednesday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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The New York City fire department says more than a dozen people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing two people.

The department also says more than 20 others were injured, including two with life-threatening injuries.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says some of those unaccounted for may have fled to safety. He says the city is expending every effort to locate them.

The White House issued a statement offering "thoughts and prayers" and commending first responders.

The mayor urged worried relatives to call 311. A hotline was being set up.

The cause was not immediately known. However, utility workers were on the way to check out a report of a gas odor at the time of the 9:30 a.m. blast Wednesday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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A thunderous explosion that may have been caused by a gas leak flattened two East Harlem apartment buildings Wednesday, killing at least two people, injuring 18 and leaving an undisclosed number missing.

Utility workers were on the way to check out a report of a gas odor at the time of the 9:30 a.m. blast, which shattered store windows for blocks, hurled debris onto elevated commuter railroad tracks close by, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

The two five-story brick buildings on Park Avenue at 116th Street were reduced to a burning heap of bricks and metal.

"It felt like an earthquake had rattled my whole building," said Waldemar Infante, a porter who was working in a basement nearby. "There were glass shards everywhere on the ground, and all the stores had their windows blown out."

Police said two females died, but they had no further details.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities were trying to locate "a number of missing individuals," some of whom may have fled to safety.

Con Edison had received a report of a gas leak 15 minutes before the explosion, de Blasio said. The blast occurred before the Con Edison team arrived, according to the mayor.

The East Harlem neighborhood stood at a standstill as police set up barricades to keep residents away. Thick, acrid smoke rose into the air, causing people's eyes to water. Some wore surgical masks, while others held their hands or scarves over their faces.

Sidewalks for blocks around were littered with broken glass. Witnesses said the blast at Park Avenue and 116th Street was so powerful it knocked groceries off the shelves of nearby stores.

One of the side-by-side Park Avenue buildings had a piano store on the first floor, the other a storefront church. Building Department records don't show any work in progress at either address, but the building with the church had obtained permits to install new gas pipes in June.

A resident of the one of the buildings, Eusebio Perez, heard news of the explosion and hurried back from his job as a piano technician.

"There's nothing left," he said. "Just a bunch of bricks and wood."

Perez, 48, said he shared an apartment with a roommate and was unsure what his next steps would be.

"I only have what I'm wearing," he said. "I have to find a place to stay for tonight and organize what's going to be my next steps."

The explosion occurred very close to Metro-North tracks. Metro-North service was suspended commuter train service to and from Grand Central on all its lines while employees removed debris from the tracks.

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Associated Press Reporters David B. Caruso, David Crary, Leanne Italie and Meghan Barr contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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An explosion has leveled two New York City apartment buildings, killing two people and injuring 17 others. A utility company says a resident in a nearby building reported smelling gas shortly before the explosion.

The New York Police Department says two people died in the East Harlem blast. No other information is available.

Con Edison spokesman Bob McGee says a resident from a building adjacent to the two that collapsed reported that he smelled gas inside his apartment, but thought the odor could be coming from outside.

McGee says the utility dispatched two crews just after 9:15 a.m., but they arrived just after the explosion. He says the street is served by an eight-inch low-pressure gas main. He would not speculate on whether a gas leak caused the explosion.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


A New York City apartment building has exploded in huge flames and billowing black smoke, leading to the collapse of at least one building and 16 injuries.

The New York City fire department says 15 people were treated for minor injuries at the scene. Another person with serious trauma was transported to Harlem Hospital.

Residents heard a large explosion near Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem around 9 a.m. Wednesday. One five-story building was reduced to rubble, and a second building also is heavily damaged.

Sidewalks for blocks around are littered with broken glass from shattered storefront and apartment windows. Witnesses say the blast was so powerful it knocked groceries off the shelves of nearby stores.

The site is next to Metro-North commuter railroad tracks. Train service is halted to and from Grand Central Terminal.


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An explosion in Upper Manhattan on Wednesday leveled a five-story building, sent flames and billowing black smoke above the skyline and injured 11 people.

One person with "serious trauma" was being treated at Harlem Hospital, and the hospital was expecting more injured people to arrive, said Lamarr Nelson, a hospital spokesman.

Sidewalks for blocks around were littered with broken glass from shattered storefront and apartment windows. Witnesses say the blast neat Park Avenue and 116th Street was so powerful it knocked groceries off the shelves of nearby stores.

A neighboring building was severely damaged. The cause of the blast was unclear.

Police, some wearing gas masks and medical masks, handed out medical masks to residents and onlookers because of the thick white smoke that shrouded the area.

Eoin Hayes, 26, said the explosion shook his entire apartment building in Harlem at about 9:30 a.m. He ran to the window and saw flames consuming one building and smoke rising into the air.

"I was in my bedroom and the explosion went off, it kind of shook the whole building," Hayes said. "You could feel the vibrations going through the building."

Hayes lives less than 10 blocks from where the explosion happened. He said the fire consumed one building and then moved on to another building adjacent to it, though about 40 minutes later the flames had subsided and there was mostly just smoke. Both buildings appeared to be residential.

"I ran to the window and saw the fire and the smoke going up and the sirens start," Hayes said.

The explosion occurred very close to elevated Metro-North commuter railroad tracks. Metro-North service was suspended to and from Grand Central on all three train lines while employees remove debris from the tracks.

The fire department said it sent nearly 170 members to the scene.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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