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Explosion causes buildings to collapse in New York, 17 people injured, two dead

New York, Mar 13 (): At least three persons died and thirty six were injured after a five-storey residential construction in the neighbourhood of Manhattan’s East Harlem blasted and was levelled on Wednesday morning, said a law-enforcement official.

The police said two residential buildings — 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue — had collapsed. Initial call was made to the fire department at 9:31 am and they reached the spot in just two minutes.

After the residential buildings exploded and collapsed, it sparked serious fire engulfing the region with thick smoke. Reports from the local TV stations said that among the 36 injured 11 people had got minor injuries. In just one hour later, people were pulled out from the rubbles and were sent to the nearby hospitals being loaded in ambulances.

Witnesses reported that before the buildings collapsed they heard a big sound that sounded as an explosion. The force of explosion was such that it blew out the windows in neighbouring buildings. Smoke and flames could be seen rising from the street.

Officials said that the blast occurred due to gas explosion. A law enforcement official said the technicians at spot have made tests that have revealed high level gas content.

All the train services from Grand Central station were suspended as the incident took place next to the tracks. Road traffics also were shut down for nearly 20 square blocks.

Footages showed debris scattered all over the street and dark smoke emerging out of collapsed building. Images from the helicopters showed the roof of the building seemed to have been completely collapsed.

To control the fires, the fire fighters were raised above the rising smoke to pour water on the rubbles of the red-brick buildings that were surrounded by flames. At all the four junctions of the meeting place of Lexington and 116th crowd gathered to watch the fire, but the officers blocked the streets.