At least two people are dead after an “apparent explosion” caused a five-alarm fire and building collapse on Park Avenue in East Harlem.
Authorities responded Wednesday to “an apparent explosion” that leveled two buildings in East Harlem and caused a five-alarm fire that killed at least two people.
CNN confirms that at least two people, both women, are dead in the collapse, and multiple injuries were reported. NBC says that workers who were on the scene have been accounted for, but that two 4-5 storey building were almost entirely destroyed.
Witnesses say a possible explosion may have brought down the building at 1644 Park Ave, with an impact strong enough to knock out windows in surrounding buildings and to make groceries fall from shelves. An FDNY spokesperson told TIME there was “an apparent explosion” that caused the fire.
A representative from Harlem Hospital says they have received one patient with serious trauma injuries, but are “expecting more.”
The collapse filled the area with smoke, and snarled metropolitan transit and traffic in the area. “You hear loud noises in our area fairly frequently,” said Rex Isenberg, who lives 7 blocks from the collapsed building, “but this was above the norm.”
“There was smoke everywhere,” he said, “I actually thought it was a bomb.”