East Village Explosion: 25 Injured, 2 Missing As Cleanup Begins – Huffington Post
Twenty-five people are injured and two are missing after an explosion ripped through a building in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday afternoon, a source told The Huffington Post.
Two structures burned down in the fire, which started in the basement at 121 Second Ave. near St. Mark’s Place around 3:20 p.m. More than 250 firefighters rushed to contain the 7-alarm inferno, which preliminary evidence suggests was a gas-related explosion.
The family of one missing man, 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, says he was on a date at a restaurant located in the building where the blast occurred. Figueroa’s bank has a record of him paying his bill at Sushi Park, but that’s the last his family knows of him.
“Right now we don’t really know what to do. We’re just praying,” Figueroa’s father, Nick, told the New York Daily News.
Figueroa’s date broke her nose in the blast but doesn’t remember much else. The missing man’s brother told the Associated Press that the woman lost consciousness after stumbling out of the building, which was quickly engulfed in flames.
“I just want my brother to be safe,” brother Neil Figueroa said in comments to reporters Friday morning. “I want him to smile again. I want him to be home. There’s no place like home. I know he’s just as eager to see us as we are to see him.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the second missing man is Moises Lucon, who worked at the restaurant. The NYPD would not confirm the identity of the second missing person, pending family notification.
At least 70 people lived in the buildings that were destroyed. Two buildings collapsed, one partially collapsed and another was damaged in the explosion, according to WPIX. One of the collapsed buildings fell overnight, hours after the initial explosion, officials said.
As of Friday morning, one ladder crew remained pouring water onto the smoldering ruin, which was cordoned off in a four-block radius. The air around the scene still smells of burnt debris, but already New Yorkers are rallying to give what help they can.
Abigail Adams, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, told The Huffington Post that 79 adults and one child registered for help with the organization overnight, either because they lived in one of the destroyed or surrounding buildings. Adams said she expects that number to grow.
Case workers are working with families in need this morning at a library on East 10th Street.
Four people were taken to Bellevue and Weill Cornell hospitals with critical injures Thursday. As of Friday morning, their conditions were not known.
Photos and footage of the ensuing fire showed flames towering two stories high. Acrid-smelling smoke filled the air for blocks around the site as victims — some with severe burns — ran from the chaos.
“I just heard screaming immediately and I looked out the window and I saw debris and stuff on the street,” Ryan Reilly, who was taking a nap in a nearby apartment when he felt the building shake, told HuffPost. “So I ran downstairs and I saw people from the building covered in blood, people lying in the street.”