Death Toll At Least 7 In East Harlem Explosion, Several People Still Missing
The death toll of the explosion that leveled a pair of Spanish Harlem buildings at 116th St. and Park Ave. yesterday morning (March 12) stands at seven. Several people still are missing as rescue workers continue to search the rubble for survivors.
Gas was smelled before the blast, but the authorities did not arrive in time to avoid this tragedy.
Reports the New York Times:
The call to Consolidated Edison came at 9:13 a.m. on Wednesday: The smell of gas, detectable the night before, had strengthened around two buildings by 116th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem.
Less than 20 minutes later, the buildings were gone, leveled by a tremendous explosion whose tremors could be felt more than a mile away.
The blast, which city officials said was touched off by a gas leak, killed at least seven people and wounded at least two dozen more. Rescue workers continued to search the rubble well into the night, hoping to find the nine occupants of the buildings who were still missing late Wednesday.
The explosion blew out windows in surrounding buildings and sent debris crashing onto nearby streets. People were trapped in their cars, in the rubble and in neighboring apartments. Others rushed toward the towering plume of flames and smoke, making desperate rescue attempts.
The first confirmed deaths were of 44-year-old Griselde Camacho, 67-year-old Carmen Tanco and 22-year-old Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios, who were killed in the explosion and collapse.
The two buildings were reportedly over 100 years old and contained 15 apartments.