Two people remain unaccounted for after a probable gas explosion in Manhattan's East Village created a fire in several buildings that still burned a day after the structures collapsed, according to a report in USA Today.
Firefighters today used high-powered water towers to extinguish pockets of the fire that still raged in three collapsed five-story buildings and a heavily damaged seven-story building, according to the report. The blast and seven-alarm fire injured at least 19 people, including four civilians hospitalized in critical condition, fire officials told USA Today. The injury count also included four firefighters and one paramedic or emergency medical technician.
Tyler Figueroa told the Associated Press Thursday night that his 23-year-old brother, Nicholas, had disappeared after going on a date at an East Village sushi restaurant, whose facade was still intact Friday. Figueroa told USA Today that the couple was paying for their meal when the blast occurred and that his date, who is in the hospital, remembers only stumbling outside before losing consciousness.
Preliminary evidence suggested that a gas explosion amid plumbing and gas work inside the building was to blame, according to the article. "An hour before the blast, inspectors with the utility company Con Edison decided the work being done there was faulty, partly because a space for the new meters wasn't big enough," USA Today reported.
To read the USA Today article, click here.