Man survives New York blast thanks to 'cocoon' of pianos

5 stories of debris fell on Colin Patterson's ground-floor apartment

Yahoo News

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Emergency workers respond to the scene of an explosion in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York, Wednesday, …

As horrific as Wednesday's gas explosion in East Harlem, N.Y., was, it could have been even worse were it not for a "cocoon" of pianos that kept one man safe from the debris, the New York Post reports.

The suspected gas explosion left at least seven dead and two buildings as a pile of rubble. Colin Patterson was lucky enough to survive the catastrophe. The piano technician told the New York Post he was watching television when the 1646 Park Avenue building came crashing down on him.

An explosion that felt "like a sonic boom from a jet" hit, and "the whole building was on me," said Patterson, who lived on the building's ground floor.

Via the New York Post:

“The pianos flew in the air — pianos were all around me,” he said.

“They were literally on their side. I was stuck in some miraculous cocoon” of pianos, he said of the massive wood and steel instruments that fell benignly around his body — shielding him from the weight of five stories worth of debris.

Incredibly, Patterson escaped from the rubble with only a scratch on his arm, according to the New York Daily News.

Others shared similar stories. A beauty salon owner told ABC New York that her ceiling fell. "All the girls and me ran outside," she said. "We saw the fire, just going up in flames. It was unbelievable. I thought it was an earthquake at first."

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

Related: Red Cross helping residents displaced by blast

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