Nine Missing Seven Confirmed Dead in NYC Explosion

One minute a man was watching television while working and the next he witnessed pianos flying through the air inside his workplace, as an explosion tore the building apart.

The piano tech said the pianos were just lifted off the ground. The man, who also lives in the same building, said he had to crawl through all the rubble caused by the explosion, but managed to escape without injuries.

Authorities said seven people were confirmed dead in the huge explosion and subsequent fire that leveled the building and one next to it.

Nine people were still missing after Wednesday’s blast said city officials. Firefighters on Thursday were sifting through debris frantically trying to find any remaining survivors.

Authorities believe that a gas leak is to blame for the blast but have not determined the official cause as of yet.

The explosion, followed by a fire helped to level two apartment buildings that stood five stories high. Over 40 people had to be treated for injuries, said firefighters.

It appears more fatalities are likely as nine remain missing and officials said two of the survivors suffering injuries that were life threatening.

The explosion took place near Park Avenue and 116th street, which at one time was the heart of the large community of Puerto Ricans in New York.

Firefighters on Thursday were tearing at mounds of bricks nearly two stories high searching for any survivors. The buildings housed an evangelical church, the piano store and apartments.

Electric and gas workers tore up a section of pavement in front of the building  in an attempt to shut down the gas lines, while people gathered and cried.

Bill de Blasio, the New York City Mayor call the event the worst kind of tragedy, because no one had enough warning to save those who died.

Bob McGee a spokesperson for Con Ed said the utility had received a call that reported a gas leak at just after 9:00 am. That call was received from someone in one of Park Avenue’s new buildings. A truck was dispatched by the utility two minutes later. However, it arrived after the huge explosion, said the spokesperson.

Authorities are treating the cause as a gas leak, though there is no evidence as of yet that, that is what happened.

A routine check involving a vehicle with special equipment detected no leaks in late February, said the gas spokesperson.

 

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