Two bodies have been found in the debris of one of the buildings that collapsed in New York City Thursday.
According to USA Today, the NYPD says that the bodies have not yet been formally identified, but were suspected to be those of Nicholas Figueros, 23, and Moises Locon, 27, who were reported missing after the explosion that collapsed the building containing a restaurant in which the two men were seen dining.
Figueros was reportedly paying for his meal and getting ready to leave the Sushi Park restaurant where he had just dined with a date when the explosion occurred. His date a managed to escape but had no idea of Figueros’ fate, saying she remembered nothing but stumbling out of the building and collapsing.
The explosion and the resulting seven-alarm fire destroyed two buildings and did extensive damage to two nearby buildings in the East Village of Manhattan. Along with the two missing men, four people were hospitalized in critical condition, and 18 others were injured in the blast, which the Inquistir reported was suspected to have been caused by a gas leak.
Four firefighters and one emergency medical responder were reportedly among the injured.
City officials had told ABC News that the two missing men had been seen by witnesses in close proximity of each other in the restaurant, and as expected, they were found near each other.
A city official said that some containers of debris from the buildings have been removed from the site and taken to an undisclosed location for further examination of evidence or remains if necessary. So far, about 750 cubic yards of debris had been sifted through at the site and removed.
Workers clad in hard hats and face masks used cranes and rakes to sift through the debris from the buildings Sunday, encountering several “hot spots” that were still smoldering and had to be extinguished.
The investigation is still continuing into the explosion, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said that an “inappropriate accessing” of the gas line may have been the cause of the suspected leak.
Consolidated Edison said that a crew of utility workers had been in the basement of one of the buildings inspecting some new gas lines with a contractor a few hours before the explosion, but they had left about 45 minutes later and did not find any indication of a gas leak. Con Edison’s president, Crag Ivey, said the crew’s findings indicated that there was no gas flowing through the new pipes at the time they inspected them.
However, the owner of a restaurant located on the first floor of the building reported smelling gas to the building’s owner about 15 minutes after the crew left. The first 911 call was made soon after that.
The city official said that workers continue to sift through the debris and they are hoping to gain access to the part of the building where the restaurant was located today. He added that there may be an update later on Sunday. Clean-up is scheduled to take up to a week, but may be completed sooner.
[Image via Handout/Getty Images]