At Least Seven Dead After Two Buildings Collapse in NYC

UPDATE: 7 p.m.: The Journal News (http://lohud.us/1lCEo6p) reports that the CEO of Con Ed said the company received two reports in three years of gas leaks at the two buildings leveled in an explosion in East Harlem.

The NY Daily News (http://nydn.us/1kOPyrh) reports that five people are still missing and rescuers using cadaver dogs continued to search the wreckage.

Meanwhile, the city reported a spate of 311 calls from jittery New Yorkers complaining about gas smells. Typically, firefighters respond to 49 of these kinds of calls a day. They received 90 in the hours after the Wednesday morning blast.

John McAvoy says one was on May 17, 2013, the other on Jan. 26, 2011.

He said at a news briefing Thursday that both were customers with “internal devices.”

FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano says the city went back 30 days and found no reports of gas leaks in those buildings or neighboring buildings, either to 311 or 911.

McAvoy says there may be at least one resident who smelled gas the night before Wednesday’s blast but did not report it.

Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies overnight from the rubble of two Manhattan apartment buildings, as the death toll rose Thursday to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion that reduced the area to a pile of smashed bricks, splinters and mangled metal.

UPDATE, 3/13/14: The death toll has risen to at least seven, according to CNN. The official cause has yet to be determined.

Photos from the Scene: First On Scene Photos | Esther Horvath

ORIGINAL STORY: A gas leak is believed to have triggered a massive explosion and fire Wednesday that leveled two five-story apartment buildings in Manhattan’s East Harlem, killing three people and wounding dozens of others, reports CNN.

A law enforcement source said at least 10 people remained missing hours after the blast. Firefighters were still frantically picking through rubble in search of survivors.

VIDEO from the scene by Paul Bassett

The number of injured climbed through the afternoon: At least 63 were reported injured.

Harlem Hospital received 13 patients, including a child in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mount Sinai Hospital was treating 22 patients, including a woman with head trauma in intensive care. Three were in serious condition, a spokeswoman said earlier Wednesday. Many patients came in on their own. Some of the patients were children.

Metropolitan Hospital Center received 17 patients; nine adults and one child remained under evaluation in stable condition.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital received 11 patients: One was treated and released, and ten patients were still under evaluation.

Read more of the story here http://cnn.it/1gkPD2w

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