So scary! After two residential buildings in East Harlem collapsed on March 12, at least seven people are dead and more than 60 are injured.
Overnight, rescue squads continued to search the rubble surrounding 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue — the two buildings that collapsed in East Harlem on March 12. Unfortunately, the death toll has now risen to seven and the search for more missing persons is still going on.
Harlem Explosion — 7 Dead
“This is a tragedy of the worst kind because there was no indication in time to save people,” mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference, adding that the search “will take quite a bit of time.”
The collapse of the two East Harlem buildings occurred after residents reported smells of gas, and called Consolidated Edison at 9:13 AM, the New York Times reports. However, ConEd didn’t make it there early enough. Only twenty minutes later, both buildings — about 55 feet tall — pummeled to the ground.
During the day and night, the fire department as well as the National Transportation Safety Board continued to search through the debris. The buildings had a total of 15 apartments — one with a church on the main floor, the other with a piano store.
Witness A Block Away: ‘I Thought My Life Was Ending’
The smell of gas dominated the area before the explosion even happened — Elhadj Sylla, 54, was about a block away 8:45 AM, when he smelled natural gas in the air, he told USA Today. He went outside after hearing a loud explosion.
“It was very dark,” he said. “There was smoke, dust. I thought maybe the train was coming down,” he said, referring to the Metro-North commuter railroad elevated tracks across the street on Park Avenue. I thought it was the end of the world. I thought my life was ending.”
So, so scary. 13 injured people were taken to Harlem Hospital Center, 22 were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and 18 were taken to Metropolitan Hospital Center. Among the injured includes a boy, 15, who is in critical condition and a woman also in critical condition with a head injury.
All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers.
— Emily Longeretta
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- Two Women Dead & Dozens Hurt In Tragic Harlem Building Explosion