NYC building collapse kills two, injures 17

2014-03-12 17:47
(Justin Heiman, AFP)

(Justin Heiman, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A residential building in Manhattan exploded and collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least two people and injuring 17 others as a serious fire engulfed the area in thick smoke, officials said.

The explosion struck a building at 116th Street and Park Avenue in the East Harlem neighbourhood of New York, where witnesses said they were jolted awake by what sounded like an earthquake.

Mainline train services in and out of Grand Central terminal were suspended as a result of the incident next to its tracks.

Hundreds of police and firefighters were on site with emergency service vans and fire trucks, as a dense white column of smoke spewed into the sky next to the Metro-North railway line, an AFP reporter said.

A spokesperson for energy company Con Edison told local TV channel NY 1 that it got a call from the building alerting them to a possible gas leak at 09:13, shortly before the blast.

Local residents also spoke of smelling gas in the area.

But Con Edison stopped short of confirming that the explosion had been caused by a gas leak.

"Obviously what we see is something that would be consistent [with a gas leak] but we can't say at this point what caused [the explosion]," the spokesperson told NY1.

"It was an explosion and a building collapsed," a spokesperson for New York Police Department told AFP. Scores of firefighters were dispatched to the scene.

Two people dead

Police told AFP two people were pronounced dead on arrival at hospital and that 17 other people had been injured.

"The call came at 09:34. It is a residential building. The New York Fire Department is in the process of extinguishing the fire," another police spokesperson added.

The New York Fire Department told AFP that more than 168 fire fighters and 44 different units had responded to the explosion.

Witness Robert Santiago told CBS that he was sleeping when all of a suddenly the explosion shook his bed and the floor.

"It smells very bad out here. It smells like rubble," he said.

"I thought the world was coming to an end, an earthquake or something like that. Terrible," he added.

Another witness told CBS that "a lot of people" lived in the six-storey building, including one of her friends.

"I'm scared, I'm scared. I came out to see the situation," she told the channel from behind the security cordon at the scene.

"I'm very scared. I'm shaking. I'm asthmatic and I'm not supposed to be here. I just came," she added.

Another witness who lived across the street told the channel that his relatives living further way also felt the blast.

"I saw a lady running with no shoes on. It was crazy. It was like a war zone," he said.

"First of all I thought it was an earthquake. I got calls from my family who felt it too and that was all the way up town. Man, it was crazy," he added.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Metro-North trains had been suspended indefinitely in and out of Grand Central because of the building explosion and collapse.

"Southbound trains are being held at stations to await further instructions. Northbound trains are being held in Grand Central," said an emergency notice published on its website.

Read more on:    us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.