2 NYC Buildings Collapse In Explosion, 2 Dead - WSPA.com

2 NYC Buildings Collapse In Explosion, 2 Dead

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More than a dozen people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing two people. More than 20 others were injured, including two with life-threatening injuries. More than a dozen people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing two people. More than 20 others were injured, including two with life-threatening injuries.
NEW YORK, N.Y. -

The New York City fire department says more than a dozen people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing two people.

The department also says more than 20 others were injured, including two with life-threatening injuries.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says some of those unaccounted for may have fled to safety. He says the city is expending every effort to locate them.

The White House issued a statement offering "thoughts and prayers" and commending first responders.

The mayor urged worried relatives to call 311. A hotline was being set up.

The cause was not immediately known. However, utility workers were on the way to check out a report of a gas odor at the time of the 9:30 a.m. blast Wednesday.

Resident: Smell of gas "unbearable"

A resident of a New York City apartment building that was flattened by an explosion says the smell of gas was "unbearable" and residents complained about it repeatedly.

Ruben Borrero says residents complained to the landlord about the smell as recently as Tuesday, a day before the explosion.

He says a few weeks ago, city fire officials were called about the smell because it was so bad that a resident on the top floor busted open the door to the roof for ventilation.

The explosion leveled two buildings, killed at least two people and injured more than 20. More than a dozen are still unaccounted for.

Borrero lived on the second floor with his mother and sister. None of them were at home at the time of the explosion, but he assumes his terrier is dead.

Con Edison says it received no gas complaints from the building before Wednesday.

Witnesses describe blast that brought down two New York apartment buildings

A man who works in a nearby building says today's explosion that leveled two New York City apartment buildings felt like an earthquake.

Waldemar Infante, who was working in the basement of the neighboring building when the explosion took place, says, "There were glass shards everywhere on the ground and all the stores had their windows blown out."

The explosion left at least two people dead and injured 17 others. It happened after a neighbor reported smelling natural gas.

Con Edison says the person who reported the gas smell said he thought the odor could be coming from outside. A spokesman says the utility dispatched two crews, but they arrived just after the explosion.

The East Harlem neighborhood was at a standstill as police set up barricades to keep residents away from the ruins of the five-story buildings. Thick, acrid smoke filled the air, watering people's eyes. Some wore surgical masks while others held their hands or scarves over their faces.

A resident of one of the destroyed buildings says he heard news of the blast and hurried back from his job. He says he found "nothing left" -- just "a bunch of bricks and wood."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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