Two Missing in Still-Burning Rubble of East Village Building Explosion
Thursday's East Village building explosion has left 19 people injured, with four people in critical condition, the New York Times reports. At least two people have been declared missing since the blaze was put out and the damage assessed. The above image, taken by Twitter user @jdx, gives you a sense of the immense damage.
aftermath. #eastvillagefire #EastVillage #nyc pic.twitter.com/UMoO4793XW— jdx (@jdx) March 27, 2015
In a press conference on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that early reports pointed to a gas-related explosion as a culprit of the blast, and several witnesses have attested to a smell of gas in the area before the incident. Reports say that there was "plumbing and gas work being done at 121 Second Avenue, near Seventh Street," which caused the explosion, subsequent fire, and collapse of both 121 Second Avenue and 123 Second Avenue.
A third building, 119 Second Avenue, reportedly collapsed as well as of Friday morning.
One of the two people missing is 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, who was reportedly on a lunch date at Sushi Park, the restaurant where gas work was being performed when the explosion happened. The second missing person is an as-yet unnamed busboy at the restaurant. A spokesperson for the NYFD, James Long, explained that the missing persons report could change, as firefighters are still attempting to put out pockets of fire before searching through the rubble.
A fourth building, 125 2nd Avenue, was also damaged in the incident but did not collapse, according to the Times. More than 250 firefighters responded to the incident on Thursday, and at least fifty were still on the scene on Friday, managing small blazes in the leftover rubble.