“It’s a very active scene. It’s a very chaotic scene,” said Fire Department spokesman Michael Parrella as he attempted to describe the aftermath of an explosion that occurred in New York City this morning.
The powerful explosion caused the collapse of a building located at East 114th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem.
As of now there are two reported fatalities following the building collapse and at least sixteen injuries. The names of the deceased, both women, have not been released to the public.
The collapse is thought to have occurred between 9:00 am and 9:30 am.
Officials have yet to determine the exact cause of the explosion, however residents in the area say that there has been the faintest scent of gas lingering in the area for days. The electric company Con Ed reportedly was requested on rush for a gas leak.
The New York Police Department said in a statement that it was investigating the nature of the explosion and collapse, which impacted two buildings, which PIX11 reportedly houses a Spanish Christian Church and a piano repair shop.
— Obi Okere (@obiokere) March 12, 2014
One boy was rescued from the debris by eyewitnesses named Alex and David who were across the street from the smoldering rubble. One of the men told PIX11 the boy “had a controller for a PlayStation in his hand”. “He wasn’t moving,” said Alex, “but he had his eyes open.”
They lamented that despite the fact that a major tragedy was happening in front of them, a number of people were standing around filming the event with their smartphones rather than trying to help.
Despite the good intentions of these individuals, they were instructed by police and firefighters to stay back as the scene was still very dangerous.
For now all Metro-North service out of Grand Central station has been suspended. Passengers off trains that were near the explosion were ordered off at the Fordham station in the Bronx.
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