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Huge Explosion in New York City; 1 dead, 16 injured

March 12, 2014 , Moideen Puthenchira

NYC
An explosion followed by a fire at an apartment building in upper Manhattan on Wednesday has left one person dead and at least 16 people injured, officials say.

According to ABC’s New York affiliate, at least 16 people were injured, including one with “heavy trauma.” The conditions of the others were not immediately known. NBC 4 reported at least 16 were injured, with 12 described as having minor injuries.

The FDNY said it received a call shortly after 9:30 a.m. reporting a large explosion in the five-story apartment building on Park Avenue near 116th Street in East Harlem.
The fire department confirmed that the explosion involved multiple buildings, and escalated the response to five alarms, with 39 units and 168 members responding. According to public records, the address that firefighters initially reponded to was built in 1910.

Reached by phone, an employee of the man who owns the building at 1646 Park Ave. told Yahoo News that she didn’t know what might have sparked the blast. The 5-story building is home to four floors of apartments and Absolute Piano on the street level. The employee said everyone at the piano shop was safe.

According to multiple reports, Con Ed was responding to a report of a gas leak at the building before the explosion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was en route to the scene, his office said.

The Associated Press reports that police, including some wearing gas masks, “handed out medical masks to residents and onlookers because of the thick white smoke that shrouded the area.”

Coutsey: CNN

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