Updated: March 12, 2014 9:21:30 pm
The New York Police Department confirmed one dead in the building explosion, collapse in the East Harlem neighbourhood of New York City on Wednesday. At least 20 other people received minor injuries, officials said.
Police and firefighters are responding to reports of an explosion and partial collapse of the building around 9 AM at a building on Park Avenue between 114th and 117th streets, the Fire Department said.
So far, there are reports of 20 injuries. The site of the explosion is close to a major commuter rail line that connects New York’s suburbs to the city. Video footage from the scene of the explosion showed heavy smoke rising from the area as firefighters and police reached the spot to put the blaze out.
A man who was on the 15th floor of a building on 125th Street told CBS News he saw dark smoke billowing down several blocks. “The building shook and then we looked to see what was happening. We saw a whole lot of smoke. A lot of smoke came out,” witness Samuel Paul said. The city’s bomb squad is also responding to the situation as a precaution.
Many residents in the neighbourhood reported hearing a loud explosion. News helicopters showed that the roof of the building appeared to have completely collapsed.
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