Published : 2014-03-13 01:38
Updated : 2014-03-13 06:54
NEW YORK (AP) -- A huge explosion leveled two apartment buildings in New York City, killing two women and injuring 17 people. A utility company says a resident in a nearby building reported smelling gas shortly before the blast.
Sidewalks for blocks around the building in Harlem were littered with broken glass from shattered storefront and apartment windows. Witnesses say the explosion was so powerful it knocked groceries off the shelves of nearby stores.
Police, some wearing gas and medical masks, set up barricades and handed out masks to residents and onlookers to protected them from the thick, acrid smoke that shrouded the area.
“It felt like an earthquake had rattled my whole building,” said Waldemar Infante, 24, a porter from a nearby residential building who was working in the basement when the explosion occurred. “There were glass shards everywhere on the ground and all the stores had their windows blown out.”
|Firefighters spray water on a collapsed building in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York, U.S., on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. New York City firefighters battled a five-alarm blaze after an explosion in East Harlem collapsed at least one building, killing two people. The blast came about 15 minutes after a neighbor reported a pervasive smell of gas. Photographer (Bloomberg)|