TENANTS FLEE IN TERROR FROM COLLAPSING BUILDING
|East Village Explosion|
30 people were injured when an explosion caused a building collapse and a huge fire in the East Village on today.,
Preliminary investigations indicate that a worker at the Second Avenue location accidentally “hit a gas main” and touched off the devastating explosion.
Flames also gutted two adjoining apartment buildings at 121 and 123 Second Ave., with 123 collapsing and 121 in danger of doing so, the FDNY told the NY Post..
The blaze also spread to 119 Second Ave., the FDNY said. As much as a dozen people were rushed to local hospitals, including four victims in critical condition and another with serious injuries, sources said.
Two civilians who also suffered burns were rushed to the New York Hospital, while a civilian who was knocked unconscious was taken to Bellevue Hospital, sources told the NY Post.
Gas service was also being shut off along Second Avenue, according to Con Ed.
According to the Post, one witness said “I heard a loud explosion, just a very loud vibrating boom…. People who were on the sidewalks and even people on the opposite side of the street were hit with debris,” he said.
“People were bleeding from the head, the face, their hands. People were running. They were confused, had no idea what just happened.”
One witness also said she saw a man climbing up a fire escape toward the roof of one building following the blast. His fate was unknown.
Robert Shapiro, who ran over from a nearby cafe, said that at first, “the whole building was covered in a thick, whitish-tan smoke — I assumed the building was gone, but it wasn’t; you just couldn’t see it.”
“Then all of a sudden the roof erupted in flames. I swear to you, at least 30 feet in the air, bright orange flames,” said Shapiro, who runs the Social Tees animal shelter around the corner on Fifth Street.
“I’ve never seen such an aggressive fire — it was like they were pouring gas on it.”
Cops in the Ninth Precinct station, heard a loud bang and raced over, sources said.
The FDNY initially declared a two-alarm emergency, but quickly upgraded it to seven alarms shortly before 4 p.m.