An East Harlem building collapsed after suddenly exploding earlier this morning, officials said.
According to the New York Post, the FDNY said the explosion happened around 9:30 a.m., destroying the five-story building on Park Avenue, right by the corner of East 116th Street. The fire department added that several people had been injured.
— Amanda Wills (@AmandaWills) March 12, 2014
11 minor injuries reported in #EastHarlemExplosion. 1 person hospitalized w/ "heavy trauma." Heavy smoke still coming from 6 story apt bldg— Marci Gonzalez (@TVMarci) March 12, 2014
NBC New York reports Metro-North service in and out of Grand Central Terminal has been suspended until further notice due to debris on the tracks.
According to NBC New York, two buildings—1644 and 1646 Park Avenue have—have collapsed. Several people are still reportedly missing. The origin of the explosion is still unknown, but a Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the scene as a precaution.
CBS New York says at least 16 injuries have been reported so far. One victim has been transported to Harlem Hospital with serious trauma. NBC New York reports that one fatality has been confirmed.
Con Edison said they received a call about a gas leak from a neighboring building at 9:13 a.m.
#ConEdison was responding to a report of a gas odor in the area just before the explosion occurred.— Con Edison (@ConEdison) March 12, 2014
Report of a gas odor at 1652 Park came at 9:13 from a resident. 2 #ConEdison crews were dispatched at 9:15 and arrived just after explosion.— Con Edison (@ConEdison) March 12, 2014
NBC New York says that two more people have arrived at Harlem Hospital with injuries. Meanwhile, the White House has released a statement saying that President Obama has been briefed about the explosion.
A second fatality has been confirmed by NBC New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio has arrived, and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will be on the scene shortly. The mayor will address the public at noon.
During a press conference, Mayor de Blasio confirmed that the explosion was caused by a gas leak, but said no foul play is suspected. The mayor added that two people have been confirmed dead, while 18 have been injured.
Though he was hesitant to confirm the number of missing people, de Blasio said a thorough search will be conducted for everyone who remains unaccounted for. De Blasio urged anyone looking for missing loved ones to call 311.
Furthermore, those seeking shelter have been directed to a Red Cross center at P.S. 57 on 115th Street.
According to the FDNY, the number of injuries is now up 24. The victims are being treated at four hospitals in the area.
ABC News is reporting that at least 30 people have been injured and at least nine people are still missing.
NBC New York now reports that four people have been confirmed dead, while the number of injuries has increased to 74. Three of the four fatalities have been identified as Carmen Tanco, Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios and Griselde Camacho.
The death toll has risen to six. NBC New York says that the three unidentified victims—two men; one woman—were discovered overnight.
The New York Times reports that seven have been confirmed dead. We will continue to update this story here as more details become available.
City officials say an eighth body has been pulled from the wreckage.
UPDATE: CBS has released surveillance footage of the explosion taken from cameras positioned across the street.
Though the FDNY is still searching for clues about what may have caused the explosion, the National Transportation Safety Board is sure it was the result of a natural gas leak.
We will continues to update this story here as it develops. If you have any information, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.