Explosion, massive fire reported in Manhattan’s East Village

Explosion, massive fire reported in Manhattan’s East Village

An explosion rocked New York City’s East Village neighborhood Thursday afternoon, and after the blast, two buildings were engulfed in flames and at least a partial building collapse had been reported.

Witnesses at the scene tweeted photos showing the two burning buildings, smoke pouring out of the roofs of both. The buildings are both low-rise tenement-style structures.

David Godlis, who lives on St. Marks Place, just around the corner from the explosion site, said he felt his building shake and looked out the window to see people fleeing.

“I saw people running to that direction and people running from that direction,” he told Yahoo News, standing beside a line of blue police tape across the street from his apartment.

The apparent blast and fire occurred at 121 Second Ave. around 3:30 p.m. and spread to 123 Second Ave. The building is a mix of commerical and residential tenants, according to local media reports. The NYPD is asking that anyone who knows people who live in the buildings call 311. As of 4:40 p.m. the FDNY reported that 12 people — all civilians — had been injured, three of them critically, in the seven-alarm fire.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known, the New York City Police Department said. According to the local ABC News affiliate, more than 100 FDNY firefighters were on the scene and at least one person was seen being carried away from the building on a stretcher.

A police officer at the scene told Yahoo News there are serveral injuries but could not yet give a confirmed number. CNN reported there may be people trapped inside the building, and local news coverage has shown NYPD canines waiting on scene to search for people in the rubble once the fire has been completely extinguished.

At a news conference Thursday evening, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the cause of the explosion was still being investigated and that preliminary evidence suggested the fire was caused by a gas-related blast.


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