7 dead, dozens injured in NYC building explosion

An explosion damaged two buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City.


Cooper Fleishman

Internet Culture

Published Mar 12, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 3:44 pm CDT

This story is developing.

An explosion damaged two buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City Wednesday morning around 9am ET. As of Thursday morning, authorities report seven people were killed and at least 74 injured, according to NBC News.

FDNY announced a five-alarm fire and reported 44 units and 198 members responding.

Here’s what the building looked like before the explosion:


And after:

U/D Manhattan: 1644 Park Ave Building is gone. NYPD Bomb squad staging at the scene. pic.twitter.com/RUkkTfwJNC

— NY Scanner (@NYScanner) March 12, 2014

Police responded to reports of people trapped in rubble, according to the Times. CNN reports two people were carried out on stretchers. The NYPD bomb squad was sent to the scene on “a precautionary basis,” according to CNN. Sources say there is no apparent terror connection to the blast, and it was likely caused by a gas explosion.

Construction workers tell the Daily Dot they’re getting equipment to pry the collapsed roof up and find people inside. 

A girl who escaped out of the back of one of the buildings says “it was definitely a scary experience.” 

Officials said the MTA had suspended all Metro-North service due to debris on the tracks.

Bloomberg has a livestream of the area. ABC has more live video.

RT @ShimonPro: Exclusive photo up close of scene of Manhattan/ Harlem explosion fire. pic.twitter.com/EWB9xj6Zer

— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) March 12, 2014

2nd Exclusive photo of scene of Harlem building collapse. pic.twitter.com/Sb2bQ4rbnx

— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) March 12, 2014

Smoke from the building, at 116th Street and Park Avenue, is visible as far as midtown.

Park Ave explosion, seen from 116 & Lexington @WNYC pic.twitter.com/2vlZMZ0eVH

— Ilya Marritz (@ilyamarritz) March 12, 2014

The affected buildings appear to be on 1644 and 1646 Park Ave.

U/D Manhattan: 1644 Park Ave Building is gone. NYPD Bomb squad staging at the scene. pic.twitter.com/RUkkTfwJNC

— NY Scanner (@NYScanner) March 12, 2014

Meanwhile, bystanders are tweeting and Instagramming the wreckage. “It’s a crazy scene,” one writes. “A building just completely exploded.”

A photographer is using a DJI quadcopter drone to snap aerial pics. He tells us the cops never give him a hard time. He says he’s never hit a bird with it, “thankfully.” His footage looks decent, but there’s so much smoke you can’t see much.

Drone photog, by @MilesKlee pic.twitter.com/JYXOotS31u

— Cooper Fleishman (@_Cooper) March 12, 2014

Huge explosion at east harlem. A building just completely exploded. pic.twitter.com/0sBuG5U0d0

— Adnan Islam (@orangeadnan) March 12, 2014

On my way to work and then BOOM! Building explosion collapse on 116th. NYC #explosion116 pic.twitter.com/4ZIrnoyiET

— Juan A. Vazquez (@madebyjuan) March 12, 2014

On 115th and Park, the furthest they’ll let us go. A crazy scene. pic.twitter.com/3iMFM50McL

— Jack Mirkinson (@jackmirkinson) March 12, 2014

Family members wailing at scene of fire 116th st. Unable to connect w family. Heavy smoke. Paramedics still going in. pic.twitter.com/aq6p4kSPmN

— Stephen Nessen (@s_nessen) March 12, 2014

Pics from fire/building collapse at 116th/Park pic.twitter.com/z7g9scp05Q pic.twitter.com/weUW1cCuPC pic.twitter.com/Zmv22OcSsY pic.twitter.com/vm3yH4SsHI

— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) March 12, 2014

Thick smoke on the ground at 115th and Madison pic.twitter.com/Z73O2AVGHM

— Michael George (@mgeorge4NY) March 12, 2014

Jesus. RT @Brosner85: Look at that hole — There’s nothing there. pic.twitter.com/S9cAbFGcXp

— hypervocal (@hypervocal) March 12, 2014

Photo via ABC7 pic.twitter.com/6PRei3p40d

— Alex Yudelson (@AlexYudelson) March 12, 2014

East side of Harlem is barely visible due to smoke. pic.twitter.com/6pNIVSV7eX

— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) March 12, 2014

U/D Park Ave & East 116 St Debris scattered on surrounding sidewalks and on elevated train tracks. pic.twitter.com/T5y8yAYZxV

— NY Scanner (@NYScanner) March 12, 2014

The 125th St. Metro North station is very close to this fire in Harlem https://t.co/XRRC1RzFnY (jessiet416/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/25FrxcLkXK

— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) March 12, 2014

Here’s an aerial shot:

BREAKING: Aerial shot of the explosion and collapse in NYC. From @CBSNewYork #wbz pic.twitter.com/13udI55559

— Peter Wilson (@PetesWire) March 12, 2014

The Daily Beast has exclusive video:

Speaking to CNN, one bystander says he saw “New York City’s finest, New York City’s bravest at their best.”

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*First Published: Mar 12, 2014, 11:22 am CDT