WADOO!!NEWS: Injuries in blast, building collapse in New York’s East Village
Inspectors from New York’s gas utility were at a building in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday a little more than an hour before a fiery blast injured a dozen people, at least three critically, leveled the structure and a neighboring one, officials said.
The explosion appeared to be “gas-related,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, adding there were no reports of gas leaks beforehand.
The cause is under investigation.
Consolidated Edison inspectors were at the Second Avenue building “evaluating the meter installation for a new service … to the building,” utility President Craig Ivey told reporters. There was a second gas service in operation at the same building.
The installation of the new meter “did not pass our inspection at that time, so it meant it wasn’t ready for gas to be introduced,” Ivey said.
Inspectors were at the building at 2 p.m. The blast occurred at 3:17 p.m.
De Blasio said investigators were talking with the Con Edison employees who inspected the work of private contractors at the building. The name of the contractor was not provided.
“We are not going to speculate on details until we have a full report,” the mayor said. “We have to put those pieces together.”
The powerful explosion rocked a heavily traveled section the East Village in late afternoon, injuring some people with burns in their airways, scattering debris and forcing the closure of streets.
No one was believed to be trapped in the two collapsed buildings, officials said. At least two other neighboring buildings were damaged — one in danger of collapse.
Images from the scene showed the first two floors of a five-story, red-brick building collapsed onto each other. That building and a neighboring one soon were leveled by the intense fire.