A large NYC building exploded earlier this morning, the cause of the blast is currently unknown. The building is located on the Upper West Side near Third and 114th Streets. Both Police and the FDNY has responded to the three-alarm blaze. Traffic and public transportation has been disrupted and suspended near the New York City “building collapse with fire” incident near Columbia University. Eyewitness accounts interviewed by a local Fox News affiliate stated that that at least half the apartment building came down in East Harlem. One man interviewed said he heard a large explosion while sitting in his office several blocks away. According to WABC breaking news reports, a local hospital is treating one victim and medical staffers were told by NYC Police to expect more. The exact address or name of the building is not yet known. An eye witness to the NYC explosion told the news affiliate that he “felt” the explosion from several blocks away and debris flew very far from the New York building collapse site. A large gray flume of smoke can be seen near the NYC building and is now covering the East River. NYC building explosion spectators are now telling Fox News that it appears that five buildings are now on fire. Despite the best efforts of multiple fire crews on scene, the blaze is not yet under control.A respiratory treatment unit was just brought in to aid those in the immediate area who have been impacted by the New York building collapse. There are now reportedly four victims being treated as a result of the New York building explosion. Breaking news reports indicate that the explosion could have been construction related and not terrorism, but the bomb squad is now on scene to investigate.
Con Ed is also on the NYC building collapse scene, leading some to believe that the explosion may have been gas related. Although, it is not at all unusual to call in gas and electric crews for safety reasons during a fire. A boundary at least two blocks away from the New York explosion has been established. Frantic residents can be seen attempting to get to and into the zone to find out the status of their loved ones. The images and videos coming out of the Upper West Side are eerily reminiscent to the 9/11 media coverage that shocked the nation after the Twin Towers fell.
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 12, 2014
Breaking news updates about the NYC building explosion indicate that the apartment where the fire started was vacant and there are now 15 victims being treated. The structure was a six-story brick building.
The New York City building explosion emergency is now a five-alarm fire. Firefighters are understandably struggling to get inside any of the burning buildings to search for victims at this time. Hundreds to thousands of residents and workers are also facing transportation obstacles as they rush to get out of the area. More fire engines are pulling onto the scene now.
Three more victims were just wheeled away from the Manhattan building collapse site. The smoke blowing from the scene has become so dense that reporters and witnesses say they cannot see 10 feet in front of them. The blaze is still roaring through the five impacted buildings, FDNY is working diligently to contain the fire. Strong winds are blowing both the smoke and the fire, making containment even more difficult and posing safety issues for first responders and neighborhood residents attempting to flee the emergency scene.
Two witnesses, one a pastor who operates a church in one of the effected buildings, told Fox News that an odor of gas was reported last night. Unconfirmed reports indicate that gas issues were present in the NYC building that collapsed several months ago.
Two NYC buildings have reportedly been thoroughly destroyed. Unconfirmed breaking news accounts indicate one female New York building explosion victim has died.Fox News is now reporting that a second victim of the East Harlem explosion had died.
— Telemundo 47 (@Telemundo47) March 12, 2014
— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) March 12, 2014
The Manhattan building fires now appear to be under control, according to reporter statements from the scene. According to a Con Ed representative speaking with Fox News, a crew was responding to a call by a resident complaining about an owner of gas moments before the explosion occurred.
— Con Edison (@ConEdison) March 12, 2014
The woman was not sure if the gas smell was coming from inside the apartment or somewhere nearby outside. Con Ed crews are still investigating the possible leak and surveying the surrounding scene. Approximately a four to eight block area around the NYC building explosion remains blocked off by law enforcement officers.
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
[Images Via: Twitter]